Which states recognize common law marriage?
Common law marriage is recognized only in the following states:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
Here are the applicable sections of the California Family Code:
300. (a) Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute marriage. Consent must be followed by the issuance of a license and solemnization as authorized by this division, except as provided by Section 425 and Part 4 (commencing with Section 500). (b) For purposes of this part, the document issued by the county clerk is a marriage license
until it is registered with the county recorder, at which time the license becomes a marriage certificate.
308. A marriage contracted outside this state that would be valid
by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was contracted
is valid in this state.
I'm sorry I don't have better news. You can file a civil suit to divide property if that is necessary.
Also, the case you refer to (Marvin v. Marvin, 557 P.2d 106, 112 (Cal. 1976) is a palimony suit, not common law. I'm not sure that is still good law. This site has information on palimony: http://www.palimony.com/7.html