Lex Equitia familiaris (Nova Roma)

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This lex is currently IN FORCE.

Approved by Comitia Populi Tributa
Yes: 19 No: 8 Abs.: 7
Non. Oct. Cn. Salice Cn. Equitio cos. MMDCCLVII a.u.c.


I. Legal Status.

A. Every citizen is either sui iuris (in his own power) or alieni iuris (in another's power).
B. Any citizen who is a paterfamilias (father of the household) or a materfamilias (mother of the household) is sui iuris; any citizen who is sui iuris is a paterfamilias or materfamilias.
C. Any citizen who is a filiusfamilias (son in power) or a filiafamilias (daughter in power) is in the patria potestas (hereafter 'potestas') of his or her paterfamilias and / or materfamilias.
D. A wife who is married cum manu is in the manus of her husband; if her husband is a filiusfamilias she is also in the potestas of her husband's paterfamilias and / or materfamilias. If her husband is sui iuris, he is her paterfamilias; if her husband is alieni iuris, his paterfamilias and / or materfamilias is / are her paterfamilias and / or materfamilias.
E. Any citizen who is in potestas or in manus is alieni iuris.

II. Familiae.

A. A familia (household) consists of a paterfamilias and everyone who is in his potestas or manus; or a materfamilias and everyone who is in her potestas; or two heads of household together in a free marriage and everyone who is in their shared potestas.
B. Within this law, the phrase 'paterfamilias and / or materfamilias' means the paterfamilias where he has sole potestas over his familia, or the materfamilias where she has sole potestas over her familia, or both heads of household where they share potestas over their familia.
C. Within this law, the phrase 'paterfamilias or materfamilias' means the paterfamilias where he has sole potestas over his familia, or the materfamilias where she has sole potestas over her familia, or either one of the heads of household where they share potestas over their familia.
D. A paterfamilias and / or materfamilias hold(s) potestas over his, her, or their legal descendants (except those who have been emancipated, married cum manu into another familia, or adopted into another familia) and the wives cum manu of those legal descendants.
E. A male citizen who is sui iuris is the paterfamilias of all those in his potestas or manus; a female citizen who is sui iuris is the materfamilias of all those in her potestas.
F. Potestas cannot be shared except by two citizens who are married to one another in a free marriage and are both sui iuris. Where two or more citizens who are sui iuris but are not married to one another in a free marriage have a claim under this law to potestas over another citizen, the praetores may decide the matter, giving potestas to whichever party is best able to fulfill the duties and exercise the rights of a paterfamilias or materfamilias towards the person concerned.
G. For the purpose of family law, and with regard to their familia, a sui iuris citizen couple in a free marriage who share potestas are treated as a single legal person, and any action taken by one of them by virtue of their potestas is considered a joint action by both together. For all other purposes each remains individually answerable at law for his or her own actions.

III. Rights & Duties of Patria Potestas and Manus.

A. A paterfamilias or materfamilias may make legal contracts and transactions, and acquire, hold, and dispose of property and contractual rights, benefits, and obligations, on behalf of his or her familia or its individual members.
B. A paterfamilias or materfamilias may give or withhold specific or general consent for members of his or her familia to make legal contracts or transactions, or acquire or dispose of property or contractual rights, benefits, or obligations.
C. A paterfamilias or materfamilias may regulate the conduct of members of his or her familia by means of rewards and punishments. No officer or organ of the state shall interfere either to assist or to prevent the imposition of punishment by a paterfamilias or materfamilias upon a member of his or her familia.
D. A paterfamilias and / or materfamilias hold(s) responsibility for the upbringing, education, good conduct, and well-being of those in his, her, or their potestas or manus.

IV. Legal Capacity

A. A citizen who is alieni iuris has no legal capacity to make or witness any legal contract or transaction, or to acquire or dispose of property or contractual rights, benefits, or obligations, except with the explicit consent (whether specific or general) of his or her paterfamilias or materfamilias.
B. A citizen who is sui iuris but is below the age of 18 has no legal capacity to make or witness any legal contract or transaction, or to acquire or dispose of property or contractual rights, benefits, or obligations, except through his or her tutor or tutrix.
C. Anyone who, having entered into such a contract or transaction, later discovers that the other party was at the time alieni iuris and acting without the necessary consent, has sixty (60) days to petition the praetores for the restoration, as nearly as possible, of the status quo ante; if he or she does not, it is considered that he or she has reaffirmed that contract or transaction as between himself or herself and the paterfamilias and / or materfamilias of the original party.
D. Any paterfamilias or materfamilias who discovers that anyone in his or her potestas or manus has entered into such a contract or transaction without the necessary consent has sixty (60) days to petition the praetores for the restoration, as nearly as possible, of the status quo ante; if he or she does not, it is considered that he or she has reaffirmed the contract or transaction as between himself or herself and the other party.
E. Anyone who, having entered into such a contract or transaction, later discovers that the other party was at the time sui iuris but below the age of eighteen (18) and not acting through his or her tutor or tutrix, has sixty (60) days to petition the praetores for the restoration, as nearly as possible, of the status quo ante; if he or she does not, it is considered that he or she has reaffirmed that contract or transaction.
F. Any tutor or tutrix who discovers that his or her pupillus or pupilla has entered into such a contract or transaction without acting through him or her has sixty (60) days to petition the praetores for the restoration, as nearly as possible, of the status quo ante; if he or she does not, it is considered that he or she has reaffirmed the contract or transaction.

V. Legal Action.

A. A citizen who is alieni iuris may not be party to legal action except where explicitly provided by lex, decretum, edictum, or senatus consultum.
B. If a citizen who is alieni iuris commits an offence, his or her paterfamilias and / or materfamilias are liable for it; if, in such a case, the paterfamilias' and / or materfamilias' failure to prevent the commission of the offence was due to his or her unavoidable physical absence, the praetor may, at his or her discretion, include in the formula an exceptio (defence) or vis maior (insurmountable necessity).
C. If anyone commits an offence against or incurs a legal obligation to a citizen who is alieni iuris, the latter's paterfamilias or materfamilias may take legal action on his or her behalf.
D. A tutor or tutrix may represent and act on behalf of his or her pupillus or pupilla in legal matters, but is not personally liable for the offences of the pupillus or pupilla.
E. No one shall be held legally liable for any offence except one who was legally liable at the time.

VI. Changes In Legal Status

A. A filiusfamilias or filiafamilias becomes sui iuris if he or she is emancipated.
B. A filiusfamilias or filiafamilias becomes sui iuris if he or she has no legal ascendant who is a citizen.
C. A wife cum manu becomes sui iuris if her marriage is dissolved.
D. A wife cum manu becomes sui iuris if her husband dies or loses his citizenship.
E. A citizen who is alieni iuris becomes sui iuris if he or she is or becomes a flamen, rex sacrorum, a pontifex, or a civil magistrate.
F. A paterfamilias or materfamilias becomes alieni iuris if he or she is adopted by adrogatio.
G. A materfamilias becomes alieni iuris is she is married cum manu.

VII. Marriage

A. If two people live together with affectio maritalis (marital affection), i.e., regarding themselves as married to one another, their relationship is a free marriage.
B. If a male and a female citizen live together for a full year with affectio maritalis without the woman being absent from their home for three or more nights in a row, they may declare their relationship a marriage cum manu contracted by usus. Without such declaration their marriage remains a free marriage.
C. If a male and a female citizen undergo the ceremony of coemptio in the presence of five witnesses who have the capacity to witness legal transactions, their relationship is a marriage cum manu contracted by coemptio.
D. If a male and a female citizen of whom one is a patrician or a member of the collegium pontificium undergo the ceremony of confarreatio in the presence of the pontifex maximus, their relationship is a marriage cum manu contracted by confarreatio.
E. If two people are married to one another under the law of the state in which they live but meet none of the criteria set out in VII. A., B., C., or D., their relationship is a free marriage.
F. If a materfamilias marries cum manu, those in her potestas are transferred to the potestas of her husband.

VIII. Dissolution Of Marriage.

A. If a person in a free marriage notifies his or her spouse in writing that he or she wishes the marriage to end, that marriage is dissolved. If, however, both spouses regain affectio maritalis within a year of the dissolution, the marriage resumes as if there had been no dissolution.
B. If a person in a free marriage contracts a new marriage in any of the ways set out in VII, the former marriage is dissolved. If, however, the original spouses regain affectio maritalis within a year of the dissolution, the marriage resumes as if there had been no dissolution.
C. If a husband married cum manu by coemptio or by usus emancipates his wife, the marriage is dissolved. If, however, the spouses retain affectio maritalis or regain affectio maritalis within a year of the dissolution, the marriage resumes as a free marriage.
D. If a couple married cum manu by confarreatio undergoes the ceremony of diffareatio, the marriage is dissolved. If, however, the spouses retain affectio maritalis or regain affectio maritalis within a year of the dissolution, the marriage resumes as a free marriage.

IX. Prohibited Marriages.

A. No marriage may exist if either party is younger than 18 years.
B. No marriage may exist between a citizen and his or her legal or biological ascendant or descendant.
C. No marriage may exist between a citizen and his or her legal or biological collateral relative if either party is fewer than two degrees removed from their common ascendant; except that a marriage between adoptive collateral relatives may exist if at least one party is sui iuris.
D. No marriage may exist between a citizen and the former spouse of his or her legal or biological ascendant or descendant, or between a citizen and the legal or biological ascendant or descendant of his or her former spouse.

X. Emancipation

A. A paterfamilias and / or materfamilias may emancipate a person, thus releasing him or her from potestas or manus, provided that he, she, or they notify the praetores of the emancipation, and provided that five witnesses who have the capacity to witness legal transactions also notify the praetores that they bear witness.
B. A citizen who is alieni iuris and whose paterfamilias and / or materfamilias refuses(s) to emancipate him or her may petition the praetores; if the praetores, after consulting with the paterfamilias and / or materfamilias, consider the refusal unreasonable, they may declare the petitioner sui iuris.

XI. Adoption.

A. A paterfamilias and / or materfamilias may adopt by adrogatio another citizen who is sui iuris provided that the adoptive parent(s) is / are at least 18 years older than the adopted child, and provided that the adoptive parents(s) and the adopted child all notify the pontifex maximus of their consent, and provided that the pontifex maximus consents, and provided that the comitia curiata bears witness (without right of refusal).
B. A paterfamilias and / or materfamilias may adopt by adoptio another citizen who is alieni iuris provided that the adoptive parent(s) is / are at least 18 years older than the adopted child, and provided that the adoptive paterfamilias and / or materfamilias and the former paterfamilias and / or materfamilias all notify the praetores of their consent, and provided that five witnesses who have the capacity to witness legal transactions also notify the praetores that they bear witness.
C. A citizen adopted by adrogatio becomes the legal child of the adoptive parent(s) and passes into his, her, or their potestas, and ceases to be the legal child relative of his or her former relatives except those in his or her potestas or manus; anyone in the potestas or manus of the adopted child becomes the legal descendant of the adoptive parent(s) in whatever relationship is appropriate to the new relationship between the adopted child and the adoptive parent(s), and passes into the potestas of the adoptive parent(s).
D. A citizen adopted by adoptio becomes the legal child of the adoptive parent(s) and ceases to be the legal relative of his or her former relatives, and passes from the potestas of his or her former paterfamilias and / or materfamilias into the potestas of the adoptive parent(s).
E. A citizen adopted by adrogatio or by adoptio takes the name of his or her adoptive father (or, if there is no adoptive father, the name of his or her adoptive mother), adjusted to his or her gender as appropriate, and adds an agnomen formed from his or her former nomen with the ending -ianus or -iana (e.g., Salix becomes Salicianus, Equitia becomes Equitiana). Any other relatives transferred from one familia to another by adrogatio also change their names in the same way.

XII. Tutela.

A. Any citizen who is sui iuris but is below the age of 18 must have a tutor or tutrix (guardian); a citizen who has a tutor is referred to as a pupillus or pupilla.
B. If a citizen is emancipated by his or her paterfamilias and / or materfamilias, his or her former paterfamilas and / or materfamilias is / are his or her tutor, tutrix, or tutores, unless during the emancipation process it is explicitly stated in the notification to the praetores and explicitly witnessed by all the witnesses that one of the witnesses it to be tutor instead.
C. If a citizen is emancipated by the praetores, the praetores must appoint a tutor or tutrix.
D. If a citizen becomes sui iuris on the death of his or her paterfamilias or materfamilias, and if in a valid will the deceased has nominated an eligible citizen as tutor or tutrix, the nominated citizen has thirty (30) days from the time when the will takes effect to accept the nomination; if he or she does not, he or she is considered to have refused.
E. If a citizen who is sui iuris but is below the age of eighteen (18) has no tutor under XII. B., XII. C., or XII. D., his or her nearest eligible legal relative is tutor or tutrix, without right of refusal; if several eligible legal relatives are equally closely related, they are joint tutores.
F. If a citizen who is sui iuris but is below the age of eighteen (18) has no tutor under XII. B., XII. C., XII. D., or XII. E., the praetores may appoint a consenting eligible citizen to be tutor or tutrix.
G. If a citizen who is sui iuris but is below the age of 18 has need of a temporary tutor or tutrix (for instance while waiting for a tutor nominated in a will to accept, or to take legal action on behalf of the pupillus or pupilla against the latter's regular tutor or tutrix), the praetores may appoint a consenting eligible citizen to be tutor or tutrix for a specified period or until a specified condition be fulfilled.
H. To be eligible to be a tutor or tutrix a person must be a full citizen over the age of eighteen (18), sui iuris, and not prohibited from doing so by a court judgement of the ruling of a magistrate with imperium.
I. A tutor or tutrix may make legal contracts or transactions, and acquire, hold, and dispose of property and contractual rights, benefits, and obligations, on behalf of his or her pupillus or pupilla, but only in such a way as to conserve or increase the property and contractual rights and benefits of his or her pupillus or pupilla.
K. A tutor or tutrix must make arrangements and, if necessary, financial provision for his or her pupillus' or pupilla's education and upbringing.
L. When a pupillus or pupilla reaches the age of eighteen (18) his or her tutor or tutrix is relieved or his or her duties and must surrender to the pupillus or pupilla any property or contractual rights, benefits, or obligations acquired or held on his or her behalf.
M. If a pupillus or pupilla enters the potestas of another citizen, his or her tutor is relieved of his or her duties and must surrender to the new paterfamilias and / or materfamilias any property or contractual rights, benefits, or obligations acquired or held on behalf of the pupillus or pupilla.

XIII. Succession.

A. Any citizen who is sui iuris and aged eighteen (18) or above, and who is not prohibited from doing so by a court judgement or the ruling of a magistrate with imperium, may make a legal will.
B. A will is invalid unless witnessed by five citizens who have the capacity to witness legal transactions, and unless the testator was of sound mind at the time when the will was written, and unless the will clearly names as heir at least one citizen who is sui iuris (or becomes sui iuris on the testator's death) and not prohibited from acting as heir by a court judgement or the ruling of a magistrate with imperium.
C. A citizen named as heir in a valid will may refuse up to thirty (30) days after discovering that he or she has been named as heir. The will may name another eligible citizen as secondary heir in case the primary heir refuses, and so on indefinitely. If no heir so named accepts, the will is invalid. A citizen who becomes sui iuris as a result of the death of the deceased may not refuse the inheritance.
D. If a paterfamilias or materfamilias dies without leaving a valid will, any citizens who become sui iuris as a result of the death become heirs without right of refusal; if no citizens become sui iuris as a result of the death, the nearest eligible legal relative(s) become(s) heir(s), each having the right to refuse up to thirty (30) days after discovering that he or she is heir; if there are no eligible legal relatives prepared to accept the inheritance, the inheritance passes to the gens of the deceased and may be disposed of by agreement of the patresfamiliarum and matresfamiliarum of the gens.
E. If more than one person is heir and the will, if there is one, does not state in what proportions they are to share the inheritance, the inheritance is shared equally; except that if there is no valid will and the heirs are those who have become sui iuris as a result of the death, stirpitial representation applies as in ancient law. If one person who is named co-heir in a will refuses the inheritance, his or her share goes to the other heirs in proportion to their existing shares.
F. The heir(s) inherit(s) any property and contractual rights, benefits, and obligations which were held by the deceased and within the jurisdiction of Nova Roma, and must put into effect the instructions given by the deceased in any valid will except any instructions which are illegal, immoral, or impossible; and must assume responsibility for the familial sacra of the deceased.

XIV. Remedies.

A. Any citizen who has the legal capacity to take legal action may bring an action under the Lex Salicia Iudiciaria, or whatever lex shall supersede it, against a paterfamilias and / or materfamilias for seriously and consistently failing in his, her, or their duties to his, her, or their familia or a particular member of it. The praetor shall direct in his or her formula that if the reus, rea, or rei be found guilty his, her, or their familia or a particular member of it be removed from his, her, or their potestas or manus and, if necessary, placed under the tutela of a tutor or tutrix. The praetor may include other penalties at his or her discretion.
B. Any citizen who who has the legal capacity to take legal action may bring an action under the Lex Salicia Iudiciaria, or whatever lex shall supersede it, against a tutor or tutrix for failing in his or her duties to his or her pupillus or pupilla. A pupillus or pupilla may petition the praetores to appoint a temporary tutor or tutrix to bring such an action on his or her behalf. The praetor shall direct in his or her formula that if the reus be found guilty his pupillus or pupilla be removed from his or her tutela and placed under the tutela of another tutor or tutrix. The praetor may require the reus or rea to make restitution for any avoidable diminution of the property or contractual rights or benefits of the pupillus or pupilla and to meet personally any contractual obligations incurred by the tutor or tutrix on behalf of the pupillus or pupilla, and may include other penalties at his or her discretion.

XV. New Citizens.

A. A new citizen entering Nova Roma as the legal child of another citizen takes that citizen's nomen and cognomen, and may choose a praenomen and agnomina subject to the approval of his or her new legal parent and of the magistrates tasked with citizen registration. A new citizen entering Nova Roma as the legal child of a married citizen couple takes the nomen and cognomen of his or her legal father, and may choose a praenomen and agnomina subject to the approval of his or her new legal parents and of the magistrates tasked with citizen registration.
B. A person who is the biological child of a citizen or of a married citizen couple, or who is the legally adopted child of a citizen or of a married citizen couple according to the law of the state in which he or she lives, shall have the right to become a citizen as the legal child of that citizen or married citizen couple.
C. A new citizen entering Nova Roma as a paterfamilias or materfamilias takes the nomen appropriate to his or her gens and a cognomen not already held by any member of that gens.

XVI. Miscellaneous Provisions.

A. To have capacity to witness a legal transaction a person must be a citizen, sui iuris, aged eighteen (18) years or above, and not prohibited from doing so by a court judgement of the ruling of a magistrate with imperium.
B. All citizens retain those rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Nova Roma. The rights of alieni iuris citizens may be exercised on their behalf by their paterfamilias, materfamilias, tutor, or tutrix, except where an alieni iuris citizen is petitioning a praetor directly.
C. No citizen may vote in comitia for another citizen, regardless of familial status, unless a proxy statement has been filed by the citizen granting a voting proxy. This proxy statement must be filed with the presiding magistrate of the comitia during the contio period prior to the vote.
D. The praetores may clarify, supplement, and interpret this law with reference to the relevant provisions and practices of republican Roman law, and with reference to the principles of justice and equity, as was done by the praetores of antiquity.
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