Claremont Non-Marital Relationship Dissolution Attorneys
Navigating through the dissolution of a relationship can be a challenging experience, especially when it involves financial, property, or child-related issues. As difficult as a divorce can sometimes be, these complexities can be amplified for unmarried couples who may not have clear-cut legal guidelines to follow as with traditional divorces. As a California family law firm that has been handling divorces and a wide range of related family law matters for decades, the attorneys at Blasser Law in Claremont are skilled, knowledgeable and ready to help you navigate the practical and legal aspects of a non-marital relationship dissolution. Call our office today to share your concerns, needs and goals and find out how we can help.
California Law and Non-Marital Relationships
The California legal system recognizes two forms of non-marital relationships – domestic partnerships and cohabitation. While domestic partnerships, under California law, offer many of the same legal protections as marriage, cohabitation is a less formal arrangement, offering fewer legal protections.
Domestic partnerships in California must be registered with the state. Registered domestic partners enjoy many of the same benefits as married couples, including the ability to hold property jointly and the right to spousal support (alimony).
In the case of a split, registered domestic partners must go through a formal legal dissolution process similar to divorce. This process involves dividing shared property according to community property laws and potentially awarding spousal support based on factors like the length of the relationship, each partner’s earning ability, and their standard of living during the relationship.
Cohabitation relationships, on the other hand, are not registered with the state, and hence do not offer the same legal protections. If cohabitating couples separate, California law does not automatically divide their property or award spousal support. However, cohabitating partners can establish legal obligations and rights through other means, such as cohabitation agreements or “Palimony” suits, as established in the landmark Marvin v. Marvin case.
Property Rights for Unmarried Couples
For unmarried couples, whether cohabitating or in a registered domestic partnership, the general rule is that each person owns the property they acquired before or during the relationship.
However, in the case of a domestic partnership, if the property was acquired during the relationship, it is considered community property and is usually split equally upon dissolution. Conversely, in a cohabitation scenario, property rights can be more complicated to determine, often requiring legal assistance. A cohabitation agreement, which is a form of legal contract between the partners, can help avoid such disputes.
Support Obligations and Child-Related Rights
Alimony, referred to as partner support in California, can be awarded in the dissolution of domestic partnerships but is not automatically awarded in cohabitation situations. For cohabiting couples, partner support might be awarded based on written or verbal agreements, often settled through “Palimony” cases.
Child-related matters, such as child support and custody, are treated similarly for married and unmarried couples alike. The best interests of the child are always prioritized, and both parents, regardless of marital status, have the right to seek custody and visitation. Child support is determined by state guidelines, taking into account factors like each parent’s income and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Courts can deviate from the guidelines if persuaded it would be in the best interests of the children to do so, making the assistance of skilled and knowledgeable family law attorneys essential to determining child support.
Navigating Non-Marital Relationship Dissolution in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley
While some aspects of non-marital relationship dissolutions mirror the process of divorce, they often involve unique complications and unsettled questions of law. It’s crucial to understand your rights and obligations in these situations.
Blasser Law, a Claremont family law firm serving clients in the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles County, excels in helping clients navigate these complex scenarios. Our experienced team can guide you through property division, support obligations, and child-related matters in non-marital relationship dissolutions. By working with us, you can be confident in making informed decisions to protect your interests and ensure the best possible outcome. Contact Blasser Law today to understand your rights, protect them, and achieve the result that meets your needs.