IV DEVELOPMENT; VI THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STATUTE which is so apt to assail us, to import a meretricious symmetry into the law. . See G Edward White, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self. establishing a meretricious relationship include, but are not limited to: of Susan Ann Wendell, Appellee, And Concerning Jeffrey Alfred Wendell, Appellant . Kenneth Wendell Masters. Attorney at Law erred in finding that a meretricious relationship existed before the couple's marriage and in failing.
Coram s first issue is whether the trial court erred in distributing all the Black Lake community debt to her. She contends the evidence clearly shows the loan funds were used to pay off credit card and other financial obligations incurred solely by Mr.
Mair and for his benefit alone. As discussed above, the trial court s distribution of property and liabilities is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Debts incurred during the marriage are presumed community debt. The presumption is rebuttable by clear and convincing evidence that the debt was not for 10 No. Here, during the marriage, Mr.
Meretricious Relationships (Cohabitation) FAQ
It is presumed community debt. It was used for community benefit because it paid off other community debts. Furthermore, although the couple generally managed their finances separately, even Mr. Mair s credit card debt was presumably community debt.
In its oral ruling, the trial court reasoned that although Mr. Mair took out the loan and paid debts on his separate objects, Ms. Coram received benefit because Mr. Mair paid the community s IRS debts. The court elaborated, The assets are going to carry their own liabilities here, and that would provide a cleaner resolution. We cannot say the court abused its broad discretion in equitably distributing the loan on the Black Lake property to Ms. Moreover, the court s overall allocation of community debts was nearly equal.
Valuations The issue is whether the trial court erred in its property valuations. First, we consider Ms. Coram s contentions concerning the Black Lake property. Mair s beneficial use of the cabin. The right to reimbursement is an equitable remedy, intended to assure the owner of separate property is not unjustly enriched at the expense of the community.
The right of reimbursement may be offset if the court finds the community realized a reciprocal benefit for its use and enjoyment of the separately owned property. See In re Marriage of Miracle, Wn. Coram did not argue Mr.
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Mair s right of reimbursement should be offset by his use and enjoyment of the property. Rather, she argued the value of the property was not actually increased by the cabin; therefore, the community was not entitled to reimbursement.
She makes the same argument when challenging the court s cabin valuation. The property valuation decided in a marital dissolution is a material and ultimate fact that we review for substantial evidence. In re Marriage of Crosetto, Wn. Substantial evidence exists if the record contains evidence of a sufficient quantity to persuade a fair-minded, rational person of the truth of the declared premise.
The court s valuation findings must be, as here, within the range of credible evidence. In re Marriage of Sedlock, 69 Wn. We do not substitute our judgment over the trial court s judgment on a disputed factual issue such as the valuation of property or judge witness credibility. In re Marriage of Greene, 97 Wn. When parties offer conflicting evidence in valuation of property, a trial court considering a property division may adopt the value asserted by either party or any value between the two.
In re Marriage of Rockwell, Wn. A trial court does not abuse its discretion by assigning values to property within the scope of evidence. In re Marriage of Soriano, 31 Wn. Accordingly, it found Mr. Yet, the court found the best use of the property would be to remove the cabin, implicitly reasoning the cabin had no practical value.
In re the Marriage of Judith Wendell Coram and Robert Hugh Mair
Accordingly, substantial evidence supports the court s findings which in turn support its conclusion of law that Mr. Though the court did not take into account Mr. Mair s use of the cabin, Ms. Coram did not ask the trial court to do so; thus, she waived the issue for appeal. Coram contends the trial court erred in awarding Mr. Mair s reciprocal benefit for his use of the home. Coram did not argue that Mr. Mair s right of reimbursement should be offset by his use of the home.
Accordingly, she waived the issue on appeal. In any event, Ms. Coram s arguments center on her theory that the value of the home was not increased by Mr. Mair s efforts, but decreased. As discussed above, we do not substitute our judgment for that of the trial court on a disputed factual issue such as the valuation of property.
Moreover, the trial court decided the factual issue within the range of credible evidence. And, the court carefully considered the various property valuations showing increases until the final valuation 14 No. The court was well aware of the evidence indicating effect of the uncompleted projects, but chose within its discretion to give it a different weight than desired by Ms. Notably, the evidence shows, and the court noted, Ms.
Coram refused to properly fund the projects. Mair presented direct evidence that the increase in value in Ms. Coram s separate property is attributable to community labor or funds. Accordingly, substantial evidence supports the court s findings, which in turn support its conclusion of law, that Mr. Coram contends the trial court erred in valuing and distributing the parties personal property. However, the trial court set out a six-page list of its personal property valuations.
Mair argues many of the items were discarded by Ms. Coram and damaged by the elements with no value. Coram presented a page list of the items she claimed Mr. Mair removed from the home, but she did not assign values to the items; Mr. Mair testified about which items were destroyed and which items he had in his possession.
In sum, given this record, we conclude the trial court did not err in exercising its fact-finding discretion when making its valuations. Tax Refund Distributions The issue is whether the trial court erred by abusing its discretion in awarding 15 No.
The court held that there was a meretricious relationship based on these facts, even though the couple maintained their separate identities and accounts. Additionally, in In re Hilt, 41 Wash. The parties cohabited for 4 years, during which time they purchased a home, shared in the management of household affairs, and contributed to each other's separate checking accounts.
The court specifically noted that the parties, "made little effort to keep their income separate and apart," and held that these facts substantiated the existence of a meretricious relationship.
The court has even found a meretricious relationship can exist between two parties when one of the parties was legally married to another during the relationship. They bought their first property together on Camano Island while Thilges was still married to another woman. They evidenced their mutual trust by putting the property in Foster's name because of Thilges' marital status. Foster later formally conveyed half interest in the property to Thilges.
In addition, they built a home together, jointly obtained a construction loan, and both contributed considerable physical labor to the project. They also had joint bank accounts and combined their earnings. Although it is not necessary for a couple to represent themselves as husband and wife to establish a pseudomarital relationship, in at least some of their social activities, Foster and Thilges were known as husband and wife. Once its been determined there is a meretricious relationship, how does this affect property division?
In Lindsey, the court states that upon dissolution of a meretricious relationship, a court must, "examine the [meretricious] relationship and the property accumulations and make a just and equitable disposition of the property.
The Lindsey court cited RCW This was later interpreted in Connell v. The court in Connell stated that, "[t]he critical focus is on property that would have been characterized as community property had the parties been married. Additionally, Connell sets out a presumption that all property acquired during a meretricious relationship is subject to a rebuttable presumption of "community" ownership.
Another important interpretation was set out in Zion Construction, Inc. In determining how the interest in a home purchased by the parties during a meretricious relationship should be divided, the court stated, "Earnings of a spouse would traditionally be classified as community property. Therefore, by analogy expenditures on property from earned income in a quasi-marriage do not support a claim for treating property as separate rather than as a pooled asset.
How do you distinguish between a "roommate" relationship and a "meretricious" relationship? In Lindsey, the court set out several factors to be considered in determining whether a meretricious relationship exists: Consider the law of trusts, or part performance, or defamation, or contributory negligence, or negligence simpliciter in a legal environment dominated by civil liability legislation and statutory norms of conduct in workplaces, roads, buildings and most everywhere, such that the existence and breach of duty and causation and damages are often decisively influenced by statute.
Because it will serve to illustrate the complexity and dynamism of the legal system discussed further below, an example of the interplay between statute and judge-made law, even in the heartland of contract and equity, is provided below. It would be very easy to multiply examples. Thirdly, the notion of a legal system being reduced to a regularly ordered taxonomy is not even close to reflecting reality. Thus Lumley v Gye, and your cases as well as ours which have confirmed it, would be all wrong.
But this is surely not now arguable except in the Langdellian ether of a super-terrestrial Common Law where authority does not count at all. We must start by recognizing what common sense suggests, which is that the common law is more like a muddle than a system, and that it would be difficult to conceive of a less systematic body of law. If there were acts unequivocally referable to a contract of the kind alleged, then specific performance might be obtained. The doctrine of part performance is expressed in three centuries of case law which has the effect of allowing specific performance of a contract which on its face the Statute of Frauds renders unenforceable.
There is some force in the criticism, but there are two distinct answers to it for the purposes of this article. First, the interplay between statute and judge-made law was and is far more complicated than summarised above, and secondly, there is similar interplay even in areas central to contract, tort and restitution. Each is addressed in turn immediately below.
First, part performance preceded the Statute of Frauds. For in places like Western Australia where the original Statute continues to apply,  or Tasmania where it has been re-enacted verbatim,  with no part performance exception being added, the judge-made doctrine continues to be available. The different legislative history mattered. One is that a deposit of title deeds by way of security no longer creates a valid equitable mortgage, on the footing that the security was contract-based and therefore controlled by the statute.
Finally, in most Australian states and territories, including New South Wales, the statutory exception endures, and is not only to be found in section 54A 2 of the Conveyancing Act NSW as a qualification to the modern counterpart to the Statute of Frauds, but also in section 23E dwhich deals with the effectiveness of assignments, rather than contracts, and is not confined to interests in land.
It is easy to see that section 23E d applies to an equitable charge created by agreement,  but more generally the interrelationship remains unclear. But take a simple Woolwich  claim for the recovery of an overpaid tax. Analysis in Australia commences with the terms of the statute pursuant to which the tax was levied.
It is possible, but in my experience unlikely, that the whole justiciable controversy of which the claim forms part can be resolved without regard to state and federal laws directed to implying terms into the contract, or special laws relating to particular contracts such as insurance, or agency, or the provision of creditor the broad provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act Cth which may render the pre-contractual dealings misleading or deceptive thereby giving rise to rights to damages and to reformulate or rescind the contract.
Property developers have contributed much to the last two centuries of Australian history, but they are on the whole an unloved class of entrepreneurs their large contribution to private law notwithstanding and some of their efforts are bad, or at least arguably bad. When considering development within a legal system, caution is needed for the same reason: Take the implied limitations on legislative power identified by majorities in Kable v DPP NSW  and Australian Capital Television v Commonwealth  and reformulated in Fardon v Attorney-General Qld  and Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation,  as to the wisdom of which serious questions remain two and three decades later.
Is it a good thing that confidential information is seen no longer in most circumstances to comprise property,  with consequences that it does not engage the first limb Barnes v Addy  liability? Different governments enact laws reflecting different policies, and reacting to different political exigencies.
There is a much deeper problem too. It is convenient for the purposes of legal reasoning to pretend that centuries of past decisions culminate in the answer contended for by counsel or determined by the court, but that mode of reasoning is profoundly un-historic.
If one is going to analyse the Australian legal system as it operates in practice, statutes need to be front and centre. Accordingly, it is desirable to reformulate the question.
Legislation and the common law are not separate and independent sources of law; the one the concern of parliaments, and the other the concern of courts. They exist in a symbiotic relationship. Much the same is true in all areas of the legal system. That may be seen in a variety of ways, some more obvious than others. It is convenient to start with statutory construction. B Statutory Language that Already Bears a Legal Meaning First, and very commonly, legislation uses language which is heavily laden with legal connotation.
Sometimes the use of a technical legal term is clear. We cannot interpret its general provisions Rather [the statute is] written on a palimpsest, with the old writing still discernible behind. Two examples may serve to illustrate that recurring complexity. A host of interpretation questions arise: Does the statute pick up elements of the earlier law such as causation or remoteness of quantification?