Skip to main content

Does the law in California recognize common law relationships as a combined income after living together for 6 months?

Galt, CA |

My husband & I moved to California in 1991 to seek employment.We have been married 26 years with two children ages 16 & 14. I am the main breadwinner in the family & always have been. I have a pension my husband has none. I have put some money into an education fund for our children my husband has contributed nothing. We own a home that I've paid all the mortgage/taxes/insurance etc. My husband could not find work here in California so went back to Canada summer 2011 to work. We both have dual citizenship. I've just learned recently that he is having an affair with a friend of mine in Canada. His girlfriend is wealthy. My question is does the law in California consider common law relationship as a combined income after 6 months of cohabitation?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3



Michael Schwerin, San Jose, California phone: 408-295-4232 email: Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.


I'm not clear on exactly what you're asking: were you and your husband formally married? If you and he were formally married, and never divor4ced, then you're still married. If you lived in a state or country which permits "common law marriage" (California is NOT one) and you lived together long enough and under the conditions under which THAT state or country would recognize you as having a "common law marriage", then California will RECOGNIZE that common law marriage from another state or country, and unless you get divorced, you're still married. If HE's still married, he can't get married to anyone else, whether by formal marriage or "common law marriage", no matter how long he lives with that other person.


There is no common law in California. While your question about common law is confusing, it appears you may want to know if a California court will consider the girlfriend’s income combined with his income in determining support. The answer to that question is No, however, if they are cohabitating the court will take into consideration that his needs for support are decreased (thus have less need for support) as a result of the cohabitation. If you have found this helpful and/or the best answer, please let the attorney know by checking the appropriate box below. It will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and best of luck to you.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.