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March 28, 2006
Case Law Development: Tenancies by the Entireties and Forfeiture Law
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a final forfeiture order of a husband's seized property where Wife lacked the requisite ownership interest under Missouri law for her and her husband to have held a tenancy by the entirety in the forfeited property. Wife had attempted to argue that Missouri's dissolution statutes, which provide for a deferred community property system, created a tenancy by the entirety interest, even though the property was only in Husband's name and even though the couple were not divorced or divorcing. The Eighth circuit noted that the dissolution statute's treatment of property as marital or community property applied only for the purposes of a divorce proceeding and could have no effect outside that context. For a couple to create a tenancy by the entireties in real estate, the couple would have to jointly title the property. Thus, Wife's Eighth Amendment claim that the forfeiture constituted an excessive fine failed for lack of standing.
US v. Cochenour, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 7092 (8th Cir. March 22, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited March 24, 2006 bgf)
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