According to law, California doesn’t recognize common-law marriage, which means you still have some rights. If you’re cohabitating with your partner, you keep your property rights. Plus, if you break up, you won’t divide property like a legally married couple would.

However, you might still have rights to shared property,  including things earned during your relationship. So, if you want to avoid any legal issues, you must hire the best lawyer in Orange County, CA who knows about cohabitation cases.

In this blog, we will discuss the cohabitation rights of unmarried couples in California. Let’s start with a better understanding!

What Is Cohabitation In California?

First of all, you need to understand what is cohabitation under the law. Cohabitation isn’t just living together. For example, two roommates sharing rent aren’t cohabiting. Also, if your ex-partner stayed over a few times a week, that’s not cohabitation either. There must be a romantic relationship.

What Are Property Rights of Unmarried Couples In California?

When it comes to the property rights of unmarried couples, you have to consider some legal things. For instance, you might have written or verbal agreements with your partner about sharing property in a cohabitation relationship. These agreements can be legally enforceable.

Remember one thing, written agreements are easier to enforce than verbal ones. But even if you have a verbal agreement with your ex-partner, the situation can be looked into, and you might still resolve your case successfully.

Understanding of Cohabitation Property Agreements

A cohabitation property agreement explains who owns what in a relationship. It is different from a prenuptial agreement for marriage. On the other hand, you have to make agreements according to your specific needs.

That’s why each agreement is unique but most include:

  • Lists of legal documents showing ownership (like car titles or real estate titles)
  • Lists of specific assets (pets, vehicles, property, separate and shared bank accounts)
  • How income is shared (if relevant)
  • How bills, utilities, and expenses are shared (if relevant)
  • A list of any new assets and who owns them
  • A plan for managing bank accounts, credit cards, and insurance policies
  • A plan for distributing assets and/or debts after a breakup
  • The process for resolving disputes over property rights (such as mediation or litigation)

Cohabitation Property Agreement for Houses

As you know, buying a home is a huge investment. So, you must include the purchase of your home in your cohabitation property agreement. This way, unmarried couples who plan for their property rights can avoid problems later. Besides, you need to draft an agreement in detail to avoid conflict later on.

Remember one thing, a cohabitation property agreement is a contract between two people who live together. So, you must include each detail in your agreement. For this, you can prepare a list of questions. If you don’t have enough knowledge, you hire the best cohabitation lawyer in Orange County, CA.

A cohabitation property agreement is a contract between two people who live together. Think about these questions and include the answers in your contract.

●    How to List Ownership of House’s Deed

If you own a home as “joint tenants with right of survivorship,” when you die, the surviving partner automatically gets full ownership of the house. The home doesn’t go through probate. This setup is good for unmarried couples because if they break up, they can sell the house and share the money fairly.

Another option is to own the home as “tenants in common.” If one person dies, their share of the house goes to whoever they name in their will or trust. This will be handled in probate court. If there is no will or trust, the share goes to the deceased person’s relatives according to state law.

●    How Much of the House Does Each Partner Own?

In the agreement, you can decide how much of the house each person owns. For example, one partner might own 70% and the other 30%. You can also plan for this to change over time. For instance, if you want to reach a 50/50 split, the agreement can explain how to do this. Maybe the partner with less ownership can gain more by making improvements or paying more of the mortgage. These details should be included in the agreement.

What Is Marvin’s Actions In Cohabitation?

Marvin’s Actions are filed when a cohabitating couple breaks up. This law has a history.

They are named after a 1976 California Supreme Court case, Marvin v. Marvin, which said cohabitating partners could legally enforce agreements about property and support. For example, you can file a Marvin Action to get your fair share of property earned during the relationship.

When looking at Marvin’s Actions, similar things are considered as in a divorce. For example, how long you lived together, if one person supported the other financially, and what each person contributed to the household or relationship.

Palimony In Cohabitation

Palimony is like spousal support but for unmarried, cohabitating couples who break up. In California, you can get palimony because of the 1976 Marvin v. Marvin case. However, there must be a legally enforceable agreement between the couple about promised support.

Palimony cases are not as easy as they seem. If you don’t bother them, you can face serious consequences. That’s why, if you have a case, you must hire the best attorneys in California who have great experience to handle the palimony cases.

 If you think you have a case. Your lawyer can help you decide if going to court is the best option for you.

Wrapping Up

If you plan to live with your partner without getting married, you must talk to a lawyer about making a cohabitation agreement. These agreements work like prenuptial agreements. They show what property belongs to both of you and what belongs to each person alone. They can also explain how to divide property and provide financial support if you break up. This is a good way to protect yourself legally.