California has abolished common law marriages. Therefore, merely agreeing to act has husband and wife and living together does not create a marriage for community property purposes. However, there are several important exceptions.

When two people enter into a valid common law marriage in another U.S. State and then move to California, California will recognize the marriage. For example:

Suppose that Dick and Jane entered into a valid common law marriage in Colorado. They both later move to California before ultimately getting a divorce. Even though California does not recognize common law marriages, it will recognize Dick and Jane’s common law marriage because it was validly entered into in Colorado.

Despite the ban in California on common law marriages, Californians can still enter into contracts with each other. The contracts cannot be based on exchange of love. Therefore, if Dick and Jane sign a contract to love and support each other the contract will not be valid. Nonetheless, if Jane agrees to care for Dick and their children while Dick agrees to support the family, a financially enforceable contract may exist. Other exceptions exist that can allow a court to grant a fair result in some situations. This is why persons living together who are not legally married should still seek legal counsel to find out what they are entitled to.  

Do you have questions about your possible common law marriage? Every situation is unique. Our San Francisco child support attorneys are here to protect your rights and help you and your family find the child support solutions that work for you. To schedule an appointment, contact The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.

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Marin County California Divorce, Child Support and Custody Lawyer Representing Women Exclusively
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