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Gormley v. Robertson

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Brief Fact Summary.

Robertson appealed the judgment of the trial court to split a property jointly owned by her and her previous partner according to the meretricious relationship doctrine.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Same-sex relationships are included in the meretricious-relationship doctrine.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

A meretricious relationship is a stable, marital-like relationship where both parties cohabit with knowledge that a lawful marriage between them does not exist.

View Full Point of Law

Gormley and Robertson were in a same-sex relationship and purchased a home together. Gormley and Robertson later separated and disagreed about how to split their assets. The trial court sided with Gormley in splitting the property according to the meretricious-relationship doctrine.


Whether same-sex relationships are included in the meretricious-relationship doctrine?


Yes. The meretricious relationship doctrine applies to situations where there is no lawful marriage, and therefore applies to same sex couples. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


(Brown, C.J.) The court should affirm the judgment of the trial court based on fairness of equity rather than the meretricious-relationship doctrine.


A meretricious relationship allows a couple to acknowledge that they are not married, but they cohabit and a marital-like relationship exists between the parties.

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