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Domestic Partnerships

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The Truth About Common Law Marriage & “Palimony” in California

By | Domestic Partnerships

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.

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Domestic Partnerships in California

By | Domestic Partnerships

People living in California are well aware of the ongoing controversy surrounding Proposition 8, the ballot measure seeking to ban gay marriage, which was passed in 2008 and subsequently upheld by the California Supreme Court.  However, in August 2010, a federal judge ruled that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection.  The controversy is likely to go on for some time, as the case is expected to reach the United States Supreme Court.
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Prenuptial and Co-Habitation Agreements in California

By | Domestic Partnerships

It was recently reported that actress Eva Longoria filed for divorce from her husband, NBA star Tony Parker, after allegations of infidelity on Parker’s part.  Because the couple entered into a prenuptial agreement before their marriage, the agreement will determine how their assets are divided and whether any spousal support must be paid.

California is a community property state.  This means that property acquired during a marriage belongs equally to both spouses.  However, couples can modify their property rights by contractual agreement.  Prenuptial, or premarital, agreements allow couples to decide how property will be divided and/or spousal support paid should the marriage end.  These agreements must be carefully drafted and comply with specific requirements in order to be enforceable. Read More

Battle is Waged on Two Fronts Now That California’s Proposition 8 is Upheld

By | Domestic Partnerships

Even though the California Supreme Court reached its decision to uphold the same-sex marriage ban, both Proposition 8 supporters and opponents still have a lot of work ahead of them. The Los Angeles Times reports that fund raising efforts have begun on both sides, as the possibility of voter re-amendment of the constitution in 2010 to restore gay marriage is being planned. Strangely enough, the two rival lawyers in the Bush v. Gore case are now working together and have set the stage for a federal challenge to Proposition 8, as discussed in the San Diego Union Tribune. Read More