A Quick Guide to Common Law Marriage in California
Does CA Recognize Common Law Marriage Laws?
In order to answer such a question about a common law marriage in California, it’s essential to know marriage requirements in the state. The state recognizes domestic partnerships and legal marriage, and the requirements for such procedures are normally similar. Marriage requirements include the following qualifications:
• Not within another marriage
• Two parties are together at the time of marriage, not by proxy
• a valid picture identification brought to the County Clerk’s Office
• provide a specific date any former marriages ended, and some marriage requirements in certain counties involve presenting a copy of the final judgment
• marry within 90 days of a marriage license being issued
• have the marriage ceremony operated by the County Clerk or valid official according to county marriage requirements listed at the following website.
The marriage requirements listed above do not apply to a common law marriage in California because such unions do not exist in California.
However, according to certain common law marriage laws and cases in the past, certain counties in California will recognize a common law marriage. California does not require standard marriage requirements for such a union, and in fact, recognition of a common law marriage in CA is usually reached through a loophole.
Common Law Marriage “Laws” in California
Although there are no official common law marriage laws in CA, there are two ways a couple can have the state recognize the marriage: signing a power of attorney papers while in the relationship or contracting the common law matrimony in a state and district that recognized such a union.
In order to validate the common law marriage in California, the court will consider several factors in certain cases like a divorce or separation proceeding. The common law marriage laws, or factors, include, the following:
• the two parties actually cohabitated in an out of state jurisdiction
• the out of state jurisdiction had established common law marriage requirements
• the date of actually declaring the specific type of marriage can be established by the court
• if no common law marriage laws exist within the other jurisdiction, the court must determine if taking a Marvin Action is appropriate in a “divorce” or separation proceeding
If two couples want the state of California to recognize their common law marriage in an out of state jurisdiction, the two couples are usually advised to form an agreement or Marvin Action before officially declaring the common law marriage. Two couples will normally establish a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney with the help of a qualified legal professional.
If two couples within a common law marriage come to an agreement about the division of property in a future separation in an out of state jurisdiction, the state of California will normally recognize such agreements now because of Marvin v. Marvin as well. Common law marriage requirements state that no agreement can be meretricious, or in other words, based upon the promise of sexual relations.