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COMMON LAW MARRIAGES

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JUSTWATCHINGOUT

Guest
I AM IN A COMMON LAW MARRIAGE OF OVER 15 YEARS. THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF A CIVIL LAW SUIT FOR MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER. WHAT HAPPENS TO JOINT PROPERTY, CARS & HOUSE IF THERE IS A JUDGEMENT AGAINST HIM? IS THERE A WAY TO PROTECT MYSELF IF THIS HAPPENS???
 


I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JUSTWATCHINGOUT:
I AM IN A COMMON LAW MARRIAGE OF OVER 15 YEARS. THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF A CIVIL LAW SUIT FOR MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER. WHAT HAPPENS TO JOINT PROPERTY, CARS & HOUSE IF THERE IS A JUDGEMENT AGAINST HIM? IS THERE A WAY TO PROTECT MYSELF IF THIS HAPPENS???<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


My response:

First of all, if you've been living in California for all of that time, and didn't move here from a Common Law State, such as Texas, etc., then you're not married - - not even Common Law. Common Law marriages have not been recognized in California since 1898 when the Common Law marriage statutes were repealed. So, unless you've moved to California from a Common Law State, you're merely "living together" as boyfriend and girlfriend, I'm sorry to report.

California law does not recognize the concept of "common law marriage": A valid marriage cannot be created in California solely by the parties' consent or mere cohabitation. [Ca Fam Sec.300; Norman v. Thompson (1898) 121 Cal. 620, 628, 54 P 143; Centinela Hosp. Med. Center v. Super.Ct. (Willis) (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 971, 263 Cal.Rptr. 672] A "common law marriage" (marriage predicated solely on consent and cohabitation without license and solemnization) entered into in a jurisdiction that validates same will be recognized for all purposes in California. [Marriage of Smyklo, supra; Tatum v. Tatum (9th Cir. 1957) 241 F.2d 401; Colbert v. Colbert (1946) 28 Cal.2d 276, 160 P.2d 633]

This is a Community Property State now, and unless you're married, everything you own is separate property. However, if you own a car with both your names on it, or a house, then you're going to have problems with that lawsuit against your boyfriend.

Also, as a side note, with regard to the succession to each other's Estate when you or he dies, neither of you have rights to each other's property because you are not married; rather, his linear decendants, and your linear decendants will take from each of your Estates, rather than each of you taking from each other. California strictly recognizes Marriage, and will not allow passage of ones Estate property to a "live-in" partner without a Will. Of course, if you have Wills with specific bequests to each other, then in that case, that specific property can pass to you, and vice-versa.

But, should you have something that is not specifically bequeathed in your Will to go to your boyfriend in the event of your death, that property will go to your natural next of kin, or if none, to the State of California under the Escheat statutes.

I would strongly suggest you see an attorney for your specific rights in light of this new, and startling information.

IAAL

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[This message has been edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE (edited July 31, 2000).]
 

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