What is Common Law Marriage?
Many potential clients will call my office and ask what their rights are when they have been living with someone for years, 7 years and more, and they were asked to leave the house with nothing. I have to kindly explain since you are not married, you have no rights. They are stunned to find out they don’t have rights under California Family Code and the protections afforded to married couples. Your rights fall under civil law which are minimal.
It may surprise you to know that there is no such thing in California as common law marriage, or to be more accurate, a common law marriage can never be created in California. It’s widely believed that if a couple lives together for at least 7 years and holds themselves out to the world as a married couple, then the couple will be considered to be legally married.
While this can be possible according to the laws of a few states, this is NOT possible in California as California abolished common law marriages over a hundred years ago. California will, however, recognize common law marriages that were created in states which do recognize them. It must be a legally formed marriage in that particular state for California to recognize as a legal marriage.