Understanding how Marvin actions could affect your break-up

Common-law marriage is not recognized in California as it is in several states. In states where common law marriage is recognized, couples who have been living together as though they were married may have rights to each others’ property and to financial support when they break up. However, parties who have been living together as though they were married may have the right to community property under what is known as Marvin Actions.

The term “Marvin Actions” came about after the domestic partner of Mr. Martin was awarded financial compensation that was comparable to alimony after they split in 1971. If you are going through a break-up with a live-in partner in California, you may be able to gain community property through Marvin Actions. The following is an overview of what you need to know.

What is palimony?

In California, it can be possible to gain palimony, a type of alimony available for partners. However, it may be more challenging to do this, because you will first need to prove the status of your relationship and its history so that the courts can decide what outcome is fair.

Courts will consider many factors

You cannot simply gain palimony by announcing that you have broken up with your live-in partner. You must show that your partner was long-term and that you were living like a married couple.

The courts will want to see that you have been cohabiting for a long period of time; ideally 10 years or more. Additionally, it’s preferable that there is a written agreement regarding financial support in the event of a break-up in place. Alternatively, there should be oral promises made or an implied understanding between partners of financial support.

If you are going through a break-up with your domestic partner, you have many options and routes to successfully gain palimony. Make sure that you understand how the law applies to your situation.

Share On


Have more questions about divorce? Check out our Divorce Q&A.