California does not recognize common-law marriage. For a marriage to exist in California, the parties need to have formally married, which generally must be proved through a marriage certificate or other documentation. However, California does provide for alimony after an unmarried romantic relationship under specific circumstances. In what as known as a “Marvin” claim, the former romantic partner who requests alimony (in civil court, not family court) must generally prove that he or she was induced to sidetrack a career and was promised financial support.
If the supported party is cohabiting with a non-marital partner, there is a rebuttable presumption of decreased need for spousal support. In these situations, it is likely the court will reduce or even terminate alimony. Cohabitation means living with a sexual or romantic partner, or at least a “homemaker-companion” relationship. Living with a roommate, boarder or tenant is not cohabitation.
At Next Legal, our attorneys are experienced with alimony and cohabitation issues, as well as the full range of spousal support modification and termination proceedings. We work closely with clients in prosecuting or defending against alimony and cohabitation claims, with a focus on early resolution of disputed issues.
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