With all of the new age types of relationships out there these days, it seems the traditional marriage we divorce attorneys have come to know and love is statistically less popular in recent years. I am occasionally asked by a prospective client who has decided not to tie the knot, if California recognizes common law marriage after you have lived with someone for a term of years. The answer is technically no. California abolished common law marriage in 1896; however, it does recognize cohabitation rights based in contract law (thanks to the celebrity case of Marvin v. Marvin) where you can have oral and even implied agreements with your live-in soul mate…surprise! So remember, if you think you are getting off scot-free from potential liability by only living together in sin and avoiding the entire marriage thing altogether, you are sadly mistaken. Beware you rascals who “don’t need a piece of paper to define our love.” You nevertheless may want a piece of paper to protect it!