Unmarried Couples and Common Law Marriage in California
“Common law marriage” is a type of union in which the spouses have agreed to marry, live as a married couple, and are known as a married couple in the community, but have not observed the formalities of a ceremony or marriage license. While a minority of States allow common law marriage, California is not among them.
Unmarried couples who have been together for an extended period of time, however, do have some rights. The family law attorneys at Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, can help you protect those rights and provide provide clarity about your status under the law as an unmarried couple. Call 415-843-6195 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Common Law Marriages from Other States
It may be possible to be married under California law if you lived as a couple in another state that recognizes common law marriage. In order for California to recognize your common law marriage, you must have lived in a state where such a union is legally recognized, and have met the criteria for married status.
States that currently recognize common law marriage include:
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
These laws vary from state to state, so it is critical you have a knowledgeable attorney who can help confirm your status in your previous state of residence. In general, most states require that you hold yourselves out as married, which can be evidenced by things like filing joint tax returns and using the same last name.
What Are the Rights of Unmarried Couples in California?
Even if you were not legally married or do not meet another state’s criteria for common law marriage, you may have limited rights similar to divorcing couples. For example, if you reasonably believed that you had a valid marriage, you may have the right to financial support and the division of assets. Whether you had a reasonable belief can be difficult to prove and often involves situations where there was a technical error in the marriage process.</
You may also have rights after you separate if there was a written or verbal contract promising financial support, such as a cohabitation agreement. This is often referred to as “palimony,” and it similar to alimony for couples who have been together for an extended period of time.
Clarify Your Marital Status and Protect Your Rights with Kaspar & Lugay, LLP
Because every situation is unique, our lawyers will invest time in understanding your history, your current status, and your ideal outcomes. We then develop a customized strategy in order to effectively argue your case and get you the outcome you deserve. Call 415-843-6195 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.
Whether you’re reaching your breaking point or needing to modify a pre-existing judgment or agreement, your team at Kaspar & Lugay is ready to help you explore your options and develop a winning strategy.
Divorce proceedings can be highly complex, especially when dividing marital assets. Even in this complicated process, restricted stock units (RSUs) stand out as a challenge for divorcing spouses and their lawyers. The question of dividing RSUs after divorce is...read more
Revenge porn refers to cases in which someone shares private, sexual photos or videos of someone else without consent. For most people who commit this terrible act, the intent is to humiliate the victim, who is usually a former sexual partner. Even if you have never...read more
April 15, 2019, will bring in further changes to income tax filings for separated and divorced couples after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Indeed, there will be changes for the vast majority of Americans, but here we will only address some specific...read more
For many, the holidays are about family. That's why navigating this time of year is challenging for people planning to divorce. By giving yourself time to plan the coming weeks and exercising some self-care, it can be a manageable period for you and your family....read more
Ending a marriage is rarely easy. The process has emotional and legal implications that take time to work through. For most couples, the financial aspects of divorce are the primary focus of settlement negotiations. Additionally child support, asset division and other...read more
Divorce – New Reality, New Rules You always remember your wedding; it was your special day. All of your buddies and/or girlfriends were there, and you partied the weekend before to say goodbye to your single life and hello to the future. Your friend gave that great...read more
Improve Your Odds of A Successful Resolution
Kaspar has been helping with a difficult situation and has been both professional and compassionate. He has given time and advice that has been helpful and clear. He has explained complex situations in simple, clear terms. I will recommended him to anytime some one asks for a good lawyer. And if I need a good one in the future I will not hesitate to call him.