“Show Me the Money!”
Is My Non-Marital Cohabitation Case Worth Pursuing?
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
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!