California Common Law Marriage
Some states recognize the marriage of couples who have been together for
an extended period of time and who have considered themselves as married.
California is not one of those states. Unmarried couples who have been
together for an extended period of time, however, do have some rights.
At Stolar & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, we can help
you protect those rights and provide you with straightforward advice regarding
your situation. We represent clients in a wide range of family-related
matters, including matters involving common law marriage issues.
Schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm by calling (310) 984-1411.
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 and your partner
must have met the other state's criteria for common law marriage.
These laws vary from state to state, so it is important to work with an
attorney who can help you determine if you meet the criteria. In general,
most states require that you hold yourselves out as married, such as filing
joint tax returns and using the same last name.
States that currently have common law marriage laws include:
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
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.
Seek the Assistance of Our Beverly Hills Divorce Attorneys
Because every situation is unique, our lawyers can assess your situation
and help you understand your legal rights and options after a separation.
We also welcome calls from out-of-state individuals who are facing legal
proceedings in California.
Reach out to our firm to learn more about common law marriages and your rights.