San Fernando Family Law Lawyer
Cohabitation in California
Cohabitation is extremely popular in California. There are many reasons why a couple may decide to cohabit with one another. Cohabitation is often seen as the first step toward getting married, but can also be less expensive than marriage, or be an option for same-sex couples who cannot legally marry. Whatever your reason for cohabitation may be, unless you solidify your partnership through a legally binding document, the law may disregard your relationship in the event of a death or breakup. That is why it is important that you seek a qualified San Fernando family law attorney to discuss your cohabitation agreement.
What is cohabitation?
Cohabitation can be extended to include same-sex and heterosexual unmarried couples who are living with one another as domestic partners. The settled meaning of cohabitation is any two individuals living together but the California Supreme Court has also determined by the case of Steven W. v. Matthew S. (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 1108, that cohabitation "is not simply the gratification of sexual passion, but to live or dwell together, to have the same habitation." Simply put, cohabitation implies much more than a sexual encounter or a summer romance; it is living together, sharing day to day life, as a legal marital household would.
Even though intimate domestic partners may regard one another as family members or spouses, the law may not recognize the relationship. As a result, complications may arise in certain circumstances, such as death or a breakup. For example, in an unforeseen or unexpected death of a domestic partner without a discussed or legally documented will, the law may not pass on certain benefits like pension, retirement, child support, or social security to the surviving party whereas legally married couples may be granted those benefits.
Similarly, if you and your domestic partner were to split or breakup, spousal support or fair property division may not be guaranteed. For example, as indicated in the famous case Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal.3d.660, despite a breakup, cohabitating couples "are nonetheless as competent as any other persons to contract respecting their earnings and property rights." Marvin v. Marvin was a pivotal case that helped decide that cohabitation agreements must be made in order to have any chance at receiving financial support after a cohabiting relationship ends.
Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law understands your entitlements, and we want to help prevent financial or emotional hardship, stress, or injustice. California's family law courts are often confusing, complex, and extremely difficult to navigate. Having a proactive attorney by your side that can help advocate your rights in your partnership decisions can help you through this time.
Cutter & Lax can help resolve your cohabitation issues!
Regardless of how close your relationship may be with your domestic partner, living with one another does not entitle you to the rights that are granted to legally married couples. As a security precaution, it is vitally important that you and your domestic partner state your rights, obligations, and agreements in a legally binding contract (oral, written) prior to a breakup, split, or death. Cohabitation agreements that are reached with the help of a San Fernando family law lawyer can then help clarify your property ownership, financial standing, as well as the value of your relationship.
Our lawyers at Cutter & Lax understand that individuals and families going through cohabitation agreements require unparalleled legal counsel and representation in order to ensure future financial security and get the best possible results. Attorneys Nelson Cutter and Matthew Lax are the professional, accomplished, knowledgeable, and experienced attorneys you need to represent your best interests. Compassion and care should never be underestimated, and we pride ourselves for serving over 30 years of practice and delivering only our hardest efforts for your cohabitation agreements. Contact our firm to discuss your case.