Putative Spouse Rights

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we have handled many Putative Spouse cases. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 or a consultation. We can also be reached on the web or via email at dpsawy66@gmail.com.

A Putative Spouse lawyer will explain your rights. Parties to an “invalid” marriage generally do not have the rights and obligations granted to and imposed upon spouses under the Family Code. But there is an important exception: A party to an invalid marriage who has “putative” spouse status may be entitled to property, support and attorney fees/costs rights similar to those attaching upon the dissolution of a valid marriage. putative spouse doctrine operates to protect expectations in property acquired through parties' joint efforts.

There is a split of authority whether there is an equivalent “putative domestic partner” doctrine under California law:

A Putative spouse attorney will explain your rights concerning domestic partnership issues. One case rejected application of the doctrine to parties to a faulty registered domestic partnership: “[N]othing in the Domestic Partnership Act, Fam.C. § 297 includes within the enumerated rights granted to domestic partners any form of putative spouse recognition.” According to this case, the rights and obligations (if any) of parties to a legally ineffective domestic partnership are not cognizable under the Family Code … notwithstanding one party's alleged “good faith” belief that a valid registered domestic partnership had been established.

But a later case (and arguably the better view) disagrees with the Velez position: The California Domestic Partner Act extends to registered domestic partners virtually all the rights, benefits and obligations afforded married persons under California law—both for so long as their relationship is extant and upon dissolution, nullity or legal separation (see Fam.C. §§ 297.5, 299(d)); and the California Supreme Court has made clear that, from both the statutory language and the express statements of legislative intent, a chief goal of the Act is to equalize the status of registered domestic partners and married persons.

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will argue on your behalf to protect your interest in the putative spouse doctrine. A party to a void or voidable (or other invalid) marriage has “putative spouse” status only if he or she believed in good faith the marriage was valid. Fam.C. § 2251

A putative spouse attorney will explain to you that the Putative spouse status is not limited to situations involving a marriage that is “void” or “voidable” pursuant to A party who has the requisite “good faith” belief may be a putative spouse where any legal infirmity in formation of the marriage renders the marriage invalid. Good faith is tested by objective standard.

Determination of “Good Faith” Belief

A party's “good faith” belief in the validity of the marriage is not tested by whether he or she believed a “marriage” lawfully occurred under some private, secular or spiritual set of standards. A putative spouse must have had a good faith belief in the existence of a lawful California marriage.

“Good faith belief” measured by subjective standard: A person's “good faith belief” in the validity of the marriage is measured by a subjective standard: “Good faith must be judged on a case-by-case basis in light of all the relevant facts, such as the efforts made to create a valid marriage, the alleged putative spouse's background and experience, and the circumstances surrounding the marriage, including any objective evidence of the marriage's invalidity … The good faith inquiry, however, does not call for application of a reasonable person test, and a belief in the validity of a marriage need not be objectively reasonable.”

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz. We have litigated numerous cases involving putative spouse doctrines. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 for a consultation. We can also be reached via he web and by email at dpslaw66@gmail.com.

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