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Does California Recognize Common Law Marriages?

California is generally progressive when it comes to recognizing unions between its residents. One may think that California may be one of the few states in the country to recognize common law marriages. However, California actually takes the same view as the majority of states and (generally) does not recognize common law marriage. Common law marriages are those where there is no formal, legal recognition, but rather are based on the length and duration of the relationship and cohabitation. California does not recognize common law marriage itself but will permit divorce proceedings for couples who have a common law marriage recognized by another state. Dividing Assets When a Common Law Marriage Dissolves When an unmarried couple in California splits up … Continued

Tony Award Winner Married to Two Women for 36 Years

For most of us, marriage is a very special occasion. Two people unite and promise love, trust, and respect for the rest of their lives. There are a few rotten apples, however, who abuse the sacred vows of a marriage. On rare occasions, these rotten apples go out and marry, or attempt to marry, another person during the course of their existing marriage. If they succeed in doing so, this results in a “bigamous marriage.” Bigamous marriages are not always intentional. Sometimes, a bigamous marriage may result from an error in attempting to file for a previous divorce. Just recently, it was discovered that Ben Vereen, Tony Award winner, was illegally married to two women for a whopping 36 years! … Continued

Same Sex Marriages

As you may know, many people are opposed to same sex marriage. Their argument primarily rests on the traditional definition of a “marriage” as the union between one man and one woman; that is all. This narrow traditional definition, therefore, does not provide for gay and lesbian couples. However, times have changed. We now accept that same sex couples should be afforded the same rights and the responsibilities as opposite sex couples. For this reason, some states, as well as California, now allow for same sex marriages. If you are interested in being married in such a fashion and need help, or if you have any questions about same sex marriage, it is important to seek the assistance and advice … Continued

Are You in Need of a Premarital Agreement?

When contemplating marriage, couples often consider entering into an agreement or contract that divides assets upon a divorce. Whether you know it as a premarital agreement or a prenuptial agreement, the very thought of it can have one running for the hills. But are premarital agreements REALLY that bad? When most couples discuss a premarital agreement, the partner that is being asked to sign one may become defensive, but premarital agreements can work out in everyone’s favor. What could be seen as a divisive contract can become a reason for trust to exist. In fact, one in ten couples enter into some form of a premarital agreement before marriage so that their assets can be protected. If you have more … Continued

Is My Marriage Valid in California?

At Berenji & Associates, we often get questions regarding what makes a valid marriage and how that affects the community property rights. California is a community property jurisdiction, which means that there is a presumption that all the assets and debts that are attained during the marriage are community in nature, belonging to both husband and wife. In most cases, a valid marriage has to exist between a Husband and a Wife for the community estate laws to apply. What Is A Valid Marriage? A valid marriage is one where there is a marriage license issued by the county and the marriage is consummated by an official with the power to marry the couple and then a marriage certificate is … Continued