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California Common Law Marriages
common law marriages
Sep, 19 2017

Many people don’t understand what a common law marriage is in California or how it works. But depending on your situation, you may be living in a common law marriage. For this reason, you should have a complete understanding of what common law marriages are and how being in one can affect you. Here’s a guide to everything you should know about California common law marriages. 

What are common law marriages in California?

Every state has different laws regarding common law marriages. Although some states consider this type of marriage to occur when a couple meets only a few parameters, California has strict requirements.  In many states, a common law marriage requires cohabitating with an individual for a set time period. California requires that, as well as many other circumstances.

In general, marriage is quite strict in California. For a couple to marry, they need to go through the legal process of marriage. This involves getting a formal marriage license and following all the requirements by the state. Technically, common law marriage in California in 1895. But common law marriages are still possible in the state.

Here’s where the situation gets a little confusing. Many people argue that a common law marriage goes unrecognized by the state of California. However, that’s not the complete truth. In the state, a formal marriage can’t occur when a man and woman agree to live together. Living together in California isn’t enough for the state to consider a common law marriage. But that’s not to say that California won’t recognize your common law marriage from another state. While California doesn’t recognize common law marriages that occurred in the state, it may recognize common law marriages from other states.

An Example

Consider this example. If you and your partner meet the requirement of common law marriage in another state, California might recognize your marriage. Because every state has different requirements, it’s important that you know your state’s specific requirements. As long as your situation meets them, you have a good chance at California recognizing it as a marriage.

However, there is no guarantee. If you claim that your marriage is common law but your partner says otherwise, the state could choose to ignore it. There are other situations that could cause the state to ignore it as well. For example, you may have a common law marriage recognized by a foreign country. If so, there may be arguments over whether California should honor the laws of that country. It’s up to the court to decide if the state will recognize your marriage.



Living Together in California

Unless you have a common law marriage in another state or country, living together in California isn’t considered a common law marriage. However, that can make things complicated when a relationship ends. Instead of treating it like the end of a marriage, you need to treat it differently. If you share finances with your partner, have property together, or pay debt together, you might have quite a few questions.

First, you need to consider who has rights to the money in a joint checking account. Second, you need to consider who has ownership of the home. Then, you need to think about the specifics of your situation. You may have questions about assets.

If you’re looking for answers to those questions, all you need to do is speak to a lawyer. Your situation is unique. Therefore, it’s impossible to tell how to handle a division of your finances and assets. With the advice of a lawyer, you can get answers to your questions and learn what type of outcome you can expect.

A Better Understanding of the Issue

Common law marriages are murky waters in most states. California doesn’t make the issue much clearer. If you live together with someone in the state and share finances, you don’t have a common law marriage. But that can leave you wondering how to handle the end of your relationship. Without a clear law regarding the issue, there are many unknowns.

Likewise, it can be hard to understand if your common law marriage from another state is valid in California. While the state may choose to recognize some marriages, it may not recognize others. The only real way to know is to speak to a lawyer. The laws on the issue are complex, and it takes someone with experience in family law to understand them. With the help of a lawyer, you can learn more about your situation. He can also stand up for you in court and help you defend your common law marriage. Without a lawyer’s help, you put yourself at the mercy of the court.

As complicated as the law might sound, a great lawyer can explain it to you simply. Don’t try to navigate murky waters on your own. Seek legal counsel and find out everything you need to know.

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Stockton Family Court

  • The Stockton Family Court is a division of the Superior Court Of California.
  • The main responsibility of the Stockton Family Court is to settle matters pertaining to Child Custody.
  • Family Court services also include an orientation program for parents and modifying existing child custody agreements.