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Cohabitation & Palimony - Marvin Action

San Jose Palimony Lawyer

While common law marriage is not recognized in California, unmarried parties who cohabitate and have a relationship over a period of time do have property rights. Unmarried parties seek their property rights and spousal support (called palimony) through a civil court action rather than in family court.

These "cohabitation" actions are sometimes called Marvin claims, based on the case involving the late actor Lee Marvin. The actor was sued for financial support by his long-term girlfriend Michelle Triola. Ms. Triola sought financial compensation similar to alimony and community property which married couples receive in California. The California Supreme Court awarded this compensation to Ms. Triola in 1971. Spousal support for an unmarried person is called "palimony."

In a palimony or Marvin claim, assets or shared property are not divided the same way community property is divided or alimony is awarded in family court. These actions are based instead on contract law. The issue in a palimony case is what promises were made. Did your boyfriend or girlfriend promise to support you if you broke up? Were you promised medical benefits, money, or an interest in the house? At The Law Office of Patricia M. McKinnie in San Jose, our lawyers will explain how California law would apply in your case and help you assert your rights.

Did you know?


Myth: If you are unmarried and break up with your partner, you do not have community property rights or rights to alimony.

Fact: You can get compensation similar to community property division and spousal support (called palimony) under California civil contract law.


Free Consultation: San Jose prenuptial agreement lawyer Patricia M. McKinnie offers a free 30-minute initial consultation to discuss your family law matter. Call (408) 297-2922 or complete our family law case evaluation form.

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