Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

More and more, many couples are foregoing marriage, and living together and raising children. On first glance, it sounds simple and less of a hassle. Yet Family Law is still traditional which means that if couples decide to separate, a whole host of issues come up that for divorcing couples are much easier.

Parentage establishes equal right to custody

According to California law, an unwed mother automatically has custody upon birth of her child. She does not have to take legal action to assert her rights as the custodial parent. The law enforces a father’s rights once he establishes paternity. If the father completed a Declaration of Paternity at birth or any time after, he has already done what he needs to do to establish paternity.

If the father refuses to establish paternity, California courts allow mothers to file papers in family court that order the father to take a paternity test. Once the father’s parentage is established, both parents have equal rights under the law to custody of the child, and they have equal responsibilities to support the child.

Legal orders must be set up. The parents must go through the court system to manage custody, visitation and child support, just as married couples do. The unmarried couple needs to negotiate a parenting plan and then set up legal orders to set up custody and visitation.

If the unmarried partners are separating amicably and can agree on how to manage things, this process may be relatively straightforward. However, many couples do not separate amicably and have disputes over custody and visitation. Unmarried parents should not rely on a private agreement to manage custody because it is not enforceable through the courts. Unmarried parents can request that the court set up an order regulating custody, visitation and support.

Alimony Entitlement Criteria

The term “palimony” became known in the California case of Marvin v. Marvin. The Marvin case involved actor Lee Marvin and Michele Triola who had been living together for many years. Triola insisted on the fact that Marvin had agreed to show her a financial support. Triola gave up her own career to take care of Marvin and become his homemaker. Consequently, Marvin had agreed that Triola was entitled to one-half of his income and property acquired during their relationship. When they broke up, Triola sued Marvin for “palimony.” The court held that there was no need for a composed contract for palimony. And if the parties’ activities did actually bolster the conclusion that a suggested contract for palimony existed, then it would be enforceable. In fact, no court in the United States would uphold an agreement exclusively for sexual services.

General factors the courts may consider when choosing whether to recompense palimony

  • The length of the relationship. If a couple cohabitated for a long time, a court might consider claims for financial support after a breakup.
  • The existence of written agreements or contracts in regard to financial support of partners
    oral promises or agreements in regard to financial support.
  • An implied understanding that one of the partners would provide financial support to the other after their separation and/or during the rest of their life.
  • Any sacrifices made by either partner to support the other (like giving up a career to take care of children).
  • Sacrifices made by one partner to put the other through school to earn a professional degree.

At the end

As a matter of fact, a cohabitation agreement may help abstain from troubles regarding getting financial support from your ex. A cohabitation agreement ought to cover all plans.