California Divorce Blog–Valid Marriage in California

I often am asked what constitutes a valid California marriage.  Does California recognize a “Common law marriage”?  The answer is no.  California does not provide for a common law marriage.  It does not matter how long a couple have been together in a committed relationship.  If you have not married your partner then you are not married pursuant to California law.

Elements of valid marriage

In general—consent, license, solemnization, authentication: A valid marriage under California law requires the consent of the parties to that civil contract. [Fam.C. § 300(a)] But the parties’ consent does not alone constitute a marriage. To validate the marriage, the consent must be followed by issuance of a license (Fam.C. § 350 et seq.), solemnization (Fam.C. § 400 et seq.) and authentication (Fam.C. §§ 422425); and the authenticated marriage license “shall be returned to the county recorder of the county where the marriage license was issued.” [Fam.C. §§ 300, 306; see also Fam.C. §§ 359, 360; Lockyer v. City & County of San Francisco (2004) 33 C4th 1055, 1075, 17 CR3d 225, 235–236; Estate of DePasse (2002) 97 CA4th 92, 101, 118 CR2d 143, 150]

What if you are married outside of California (or in a foreign country)?  The answer is that the marriage is valid so long as the marriage complied with all legal requirements of the jurisdiction where you married.  Typically, this means that you obtained a valid marriage license, the marriage was consensual and was authorized pursuant to law.

If the marriage is not a valid marriage then the marriage may be void or voidable (depending on the situation).  Therefore, it is extremely important when considering a divorce to first consider whether your marriage is a valid marriage under California law. If it is not a valid marriage then you may not have to file a divorce lawsuit.

If you have any questions regarding your California divorce matter please contact attorney Keith F. Simpson in Manhattan Beach, California at (310) 297-9090 to discuss your matter today.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “California Divorce Blog–Valid Marriage in California”

  1. Says:

    Max Troitsky, a Russian-speaking US Citizen from Pennsylvania is in a sad situation. His estranged wife ( Anna Troitsky a.k.a. Anna Demyanyuk ), a US-Russian dual citizen illegally abducted their US-born US-citizen toddler daughter Julie Troitsky in late November 2011, against the US Court Order, and all the details of this bizarre and unfortunate case are here: (site in English and Russian)
    and on Facebook:
    and on Twitter:

    Thank you for the help, leads and following of this case…

  2. Georgia Says:

    I am really impressed with your writing skills as well
    as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did
    you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice
    blog like this one nowadays.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: