08 November 2006


As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Virginia passed the marriage amendment. Want the news on it, you can find stories in the Times Dispatch, Washington Times (yes, occasionally I check the Times--it reminds me why I became a progressive activist), The Pilot Online, and just about every other paper in our regional virginity, oops, I mean, vacinity.

I work in a law firm and see a lot of civil litigation come through, much of which will be effected by the "unintended" consequences of this amendment. Every time I find an example from which I can extrapolate a logical extension of how the new law will effect practice, I will post it here. As an exercise in and demonstration of what is now at stake due to our state's folly.

Here's Example #1:

The elderly widow who made a contractual arrangement with her nephew who lived nearby that he could work the family farm and receive ownership of it once she passed, in exchange for taking care of her in her home in her final years. He did and the agreement was obliquely referenced in the will, though the specifics were not written into the testamentary document. She had 2 children, neither of whom lived anywhere near her, who inherited the remainder of her estate. They contested the agreement, on the basis that the homestead was the bulk of her estate and surely she didn't mean to leave them so little. They wanted to sell the farm and split the profits. Under this amendment, they would conceivably win.

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