Does California Have Common Law Marriages?

While California does not recognize common law marriage, unmarried people who have long-term relationships can seek financial compensation through a palimony action if the relationship ends. Palimony actions are also known as Marvin Actions, after the case involving the late actor Lee Marvin.

At Hendrickson Cooper Hughes, based in Huntington Beach, our lawyers are here to represent your interests following the breakup of an unmarried relationship. We represent clients who are seeking property rights, as well as defending against palimony claims. Call 714-362-2413 for a free initial consultation.

If you and your ex had children together, our lawyers can also help you seek child support and custody rights.

What Is Palimony?

Palimony is compensation similar to alimony and community property division following the breakup of an unmarried relationship. It may involve division of assets accumulated during the relationship and/or the payment of financial support.

These actions became known as Marvin claims after the case involving the late actor Lee Marvin and his live-in girlfriend, Michelle Triola. In 1971, the California Supreme Court held Triola could proceed with her suit to collect compensation from Marvin.

Palimony actions are based on contract law. Crucial evidence will include what promises one side made to the other. For example:

  • Did one side promise to support the other?
  • Did one side promise to share assets such as the home?
  • Did one side promise to pay for the other's medical insurance?

In the case involving Lee Marvin and Michelle Triola, a California court ordered Marvin to pay $104,000 in support to Triola but denied her claim for half of the $3.6 million Marvin earned during their six-year relationship. A California court of appeal later ruled that Triola could not show a contract between herself and Marvin, and as a result she received no money.

For More Information About Palimony In California

Our attorneys will review the facts of your case and explain how California law would apply. Call 714-362-2413 or complete our simple contact form to schedule a consultation.