- At what point does marriage give a spouse the right to enter the property of his or her marriage partner?
The legal right to enter the premises of a marital partner is automatically assumed at the time that the marriage is recognized unless there a legal separation, restraining order, or court order limiting or ending the consortium rights of either party has been entered. Under limited circumstances such as the extended absence of the spouse lacking legal title to the marital residence the non-owner spouse may lose the right to enter the premises and the possessory spouse may limit the other spouse’s access.
- What test did the court apply in order to determine that the husband had no right to enter the home
The court in Folsom applied a test used in another jurisdiction that ruled that ownership of a premises should be determined not by who possesses title by the circumstances surrounding the occupancy or possession at a specified moment in time. Occupancy and possession involves a license or privilege to be present in a particular residence at a specific time. The essence of this test is that a married individual may, at different points in time, have differing rights to enter or occupy the marital residence. Such right is dependent on the surrounding circumstances and there is no black letter rule in circumstances where one party to a marriage holds exclusive title to the marital property.
- Are there other relationships that should also hold special legal status, as the establish privileges similar to those of legal spouses at issue in this case? What challenges are involved in enforcing such privileges?
As relationships continue to evolve and become recognized by society as socially acceptable, the traditional rules that governed marital relationships have begun to change. The holding in Folsom is an example of how these rules have changed. As gay couples, step-parents, and other non-traditional relationships become more numerous the courts must fashion new rules to govern how the dynamics surrounding such relationships will be handled. If issues such as those raised in Folsom occur in traditional relationships it is only natural that similar, or more complex, issues will arise in relationships for which there is virtually no established case law.