The Status Familiae in Roman Law

By: Anavitarte, E. J.*

The family status, familial status, or status familiaeis the legal situation of a free individual and Roman citizen, in relation to his agnatic family. This situation defines whether the rights of the ius privatum can be exercised autonomously.

Family status describes two mutually exclusive legal positions, according to the individual's ability to exercise their rights on their own: (a) personas sui iuris and (b) personas alieni iuris. The bond that united the sui iuris people with the alieni iuris people are called patria potestas.

On this classification depends, among others, the right to exercise legal actions, to occupy magistrates or public office, to trade in goods, and to be bound by marriage.

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