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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, other than the property that is owned jointly, there's no right to any of his property. California does not recognize "common law" marriages, and if you've been in California the entire time of your relationship, then you're not going to have a common law marriage. If you moved to a different state, it's possible that you could be common law married, because California will recognize common law marriages that incurred in another state and you subsequently moved. The only other way that you could have any claim would be "palimony" (like alimony, but without a marriage). The seminal California case in palimony law is Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal.3d 660 [134 Cal.Rptr. 815, 557 P.2d 106]. The Supreme Court in Marvin expressly declined to treat unmarried cohabitants like married person. A "pal" does not have any comparable automatic right to property or support based only on his or her status as a nonmarital partner. Rather, a Marvin plaintiff must prove some other underlying basis for his or her claim, such as an express or implied contract.Marvin v. Marvin (1981) 122 Cal.App.3d 871 [176 Cal.Rptr. 555]) ; Taylor v. Polackwich (1983) 145 Cal.App.3d 1014, 1021 [194 Cal.Rptr. 8] expounded upon the original Marvin case. The only true "Marvin principle" is to treat nomarital cohabitants "as we do any other unmarried persons" -- principally, by enforcing their contracts.
In essence, palimony in California is contractual. So if you went to live with him and he told you that in exchange he would always care for you, etc... then you might have a claim for palimony, but not because of the relationship or the length of it.
Rather, it's contractual. So if you agreed and lived with him one day, or 20 years, the outcome would be the same.A contract is "I will do X for you if you do Y for me, and you actually do the "Y""So if he said that he would care for you for the rest of your life if you came and lived with him, that would likely be an offer for a contract.But there would have to be an explicit offer, acceptance, and "consideration" for there to be such a contract.
That's the state of palimony in California. It's contractual in nature, and confers no greater rights to someone by virtue of living together as (not legally recognized) man and wife, nor the length of the relationship. You could be entitled to any of this is "palimony", which is sort of like alimony, but when you're not married. But in order to get palimony, you'd have to show a relationship contract (that is, an agreement that she would support you). Unless you can show that, you wouldn't be able to be successful in such an action for that either. The only claim that you would have would be to jointly owned property, and then only to half of that. Any separate property, even earned during the relationship, is not "community property" because you were not married (at least in the eyes of the state you were not).
I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!
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