There is no such thing as common law divorce in California, but you may have certain rights if children were involved
In the state of California, it does not matter how long you have lived with a partner or even if you took their name—if you did not obtain a legal marriage certificate or enter into an official domestic partnership, you were not legally joined together and you cannot get a divorce. Therefore, you cannot receive spousal support or legal orders regarding the division of any mingled property or assets either.
However, if you had children with your partner, you may be entitled to court orders for child support or child custody. This may be true even if the partner is not the biological parent of the children—under the concept of “parentage by estoppel” a court may find that a man is the legal father of a child if he always accepted it as his own.
Please contact us for additional advice about child support, child custody, paternity, or domestic violence issues stemming from a relationship that was not a legal marriage or domestic partnership.