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Is My Non-Marital Cohabitation Case Worth Pursuing?

Living in Sin

More and more people are now living together in very long term relationships, but are choosing to not get married. Some humorously refer to this as “living in sin.” However, it is no joking matter when the relationship falls apart and the parties must separate their intertwined finances, property, and dependence upon support.

At The Buncher Law Corporation, our Orange County divorce attorneys meet with many people who want to know whether their “Marvin” (aka Non-Marital Cohabitation) claim is worth pursuing. Many want to know whether the mere fact that they lived with someone, and then broke up, gives them the right to sue that person, or whether there needs to be something more.

Understandably, many clients are fueled by emotions, and unfortunately, are often armed with misinformation. It is our pleasure to help guide them (and you!) in the right direction.

"Marvin" cases are different than divorce situations, in terms of the decision-making process of whether to go forward with a case. When a married couple or Registered Domestic Partners (RDP) decide to separate, no matter what type of estate they have amassed, those parties have a Family Law court case.

If a married couple wants to break up for good, they must commence legal action in order to obtain a Divorce or a Legal Separation. Domestic partners can terminate their Registered Domestic Partners by filing a Notice of Termination with the California Secretary of State instead of initiating family court proceedings.

Non-marital couples, however, are in a different boat. Their legal status has always been “Single”. Thus, a sound, reasoned decision of whether to file a Complaint will depend on the “stuff” accumulated during the relationship.

Are there assets? Are there debts? Did either or both parties own a business? Did someone give up their career for the other? Did either or both parties own or purchase real property? Did either or both parties amass retirement accounts? Were contributions made by one party to assets in the name of the other person? Are there investments? Savings? Valuable personal property such as vehicles, art, jewelry? If there is not enough “stuff” to divide, filing a Marvin Action might not be worth it, when you factor in the costs of litigation and what you stand to gain in the end. However, if you have significant assets to lose, a Non-Marital Cohabitation case might be worth your while. That case will hold your ex accountable to ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours.

As we tell most of our defense clients, if you are on the receiving end of a Non-Marital Cohabitation lawsuit, unfortunately, you do not have the opportunity to make the decision as to whether to initiate the case. Your former significant other made that decision for you. However, the good news is that with the help of experienced Marvin action attorneys, Sven Buncher and Lauren Mullee of The Buncher Law Corporation, strategic choices can be made to minimize your exposure and address the issues in as efficient a fashion as possible. Perhaps you have sufficient grounds for a Cross-Complaint against your ex that might inspire settlement or dismissal of the lawsuit. Or perhaps you have early settlement discussions and you come armed with seasoned counsel who can show your ex the merits of your case that will nip the case in the bud.

“Count Us In” to fight for you!

Helpful Family Law Resources

Family law can be complex, but there are plenty of resources available to assist you. Browse through the various resources our team provides to help simplify your legal process in every way possible.

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