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. As complicated as the law might sound, a great lawyer can explain it to you simply. Seek legal counsel and find out everything you need to know. Please take a moment to review your experience with us. Your feedback not only helps us, it helps other potential clients. California Common Law Marriages. 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.
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CALIFORNIA PUTATIVE SPOUSE AND DISTRIBUTION OF ESTATE ASSETS
However, those decisions do not limit the application of the putative spouse doctrine to just community property. In Burnham, supra, the survivor benefits do not appear to be community property because they were earned before the period of the putative partnership, which only lasted a few hours. The court correctly notes that the putative spouse doctrine also applies when both spouses believe in the validity of the marriage, as occurred in Estate of Leslie, supra, and allegedly occurred in Burnham, supra.
Although it is possible to distinguish Estate of Sax, supra, because the assets described in the spousal property petition in that case were stipulated to be community or quasi-community property, the supreme court held that the surviving putative spouse in Estate of Leslie, supra, was entitled to an intestate share of the decedent's separate property as well as quasi-marital property.
A putative spouse has intestate succession rights to the same extent as a surviving spouse. Generally, the intestate inheritance rights of a surviving putative spouse have been developed by judicial decisions that attempt to resolve disputes equitably. To be deemed a California putative spouse one spouse must have had a good faith belief that the marriage was legally valid.
The "good faith belief" required refers to an alleged putative spouse's subjective state of mind, and is not based on a "reasonable person" standard.
Which States Recognize Common Law Marriage? | Nolo
However, the reasonableness or unreasonableness of a party's belief in the face of objective circumstances pointing to a marriage's invalidity is a factor properly considered as part of the totality of the circumstances in determining whether the belief was genuinely and honestly held. The test for a California putative spouse is: The good faith inquiry is a subjective one that focuses on the actual state of mind of the alleged putative spouse.
If division of property is in issue, a California court will designate property that would otherwise have been the spouses' community or quasi-community property as "quasi-marital property" and will divide the property as if the union had not been void or voidable-that is, according to the rules applicable to division of property in a dissolution proceeding. A California putative spouse also has intestate succession rights to the same extent as a surviving spouse and can claim ownership in property in the same manner as would be asserted by a spouse.
However, a California putative spouse is not entitled to a family allowance. In addition, if the decedent is survived both by a surviving spouse and a putative spouse, the application of equitable principles may result in the putative spouse's only being entitled to his or her one-half of the quasi-marital property, leaving the decedent's one-half to pass by will or intestate succession.
Under appropriate circumstances, the California putative spouse may be able to successfully assert that the surviving spouse is estopped from challenging the validity of the putative spouse's marriage to the decedent. A person with a good faith belief in the validity of his or her registered domestic partnership is entitled to protection as a California putative registered domestic partner, even if the domestic partnership was not properly registered. However, even though domestic partners are generally afforded the same property rights as spouses, there is conflicting authority as to whether domestic partners who fail to properly register can be considered putative spouses.
Quasi-marital property is property acquired by parties to an invalid marriage that would have been community or quasi-community property had the marriage been valid, as long as either party qualifies as a putative spouse. Either party to an invalid marriage who had a good faith belief in the validity of the marriage may be treated as a "California putative spouse" and claim an interest in the property acquired during marriage that would have been characterized as community property if the marriage had been valid.
The courts are split on whether a party who claims California putative spouse status may do so on the basis that it was the other party only who held a good faith belief in the validity of the marriage. If a California putative spouse claim is upheld, the property acquired during the invalid marriage is considered "quasi-marital" property and is treated like community property in an annulment or estate proceeding.
By extension, these quasi-marital-property principles should also apply to "putative domestic partners. If you wish to gain more information please contact me for a free consultation. I will spend time with you to answer your questions. To schedule a consultation, call me toll free at or locally at I enjoy meeting in person whenever possible, but am also available via Skype and email or through my online contact form.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general information. The content of this publication is for informational purposes only. Neither this publication nor its author is rendering legal or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters. No attorney-client relationship is created by this advisory, nor by any response to the information herein, unless and until a conflicts review has been conducted by William K.
Sweeney, and a written agreement containing all terms of representation has been signed. Please enter a valid email address. Please enter a valid phone number.
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- Does California Recognize Common Law Marriages? | Berenji & Associates.
The court may also declare that a constructive trust exists, which is essentially a legal fiction designed to avoid injustice and prevent giving an unfair advantage to one of the parties. This may be based on the contributions made by one partner to the property of the other. Each case is decided on its own facts, taking all circumstances into consideration. Gold Award Home Personal Forms. Business Forms. US Legal Forms.
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Just Honest People. Online Chat. California Cohabitation Forms Use this page to locate and download Cohabitation Agreement Forms or Wills for persons living together but not married. Cohabitation Agreements Easy Order Easy order process. Simply answer a few questions. Get your agreement now.