Pros and Cons of Cohabitation Versus Marriage in California - Virtual
Divorce Mediation

Pros and Cons of Cohabitation Versus Marriage in California

The debate over whether marriage or cohabitation is better is influenced by personal experiences and beliefs. Some argue that nothing can replace marriage in a loving relationship, while others believe cohabitation is equally fulfilling without the legal bindings. This article explores the benefits and disadvantages of cohabitation compared to marriage, especially within the context of California divorce mediation.

Pros of Cohabitation Over Marriage

  1. Personal Freedom and Commitment: Cohabitation allows couples to share their lives and homes with someone they love without the legal bindings of marriage. This arrangement emphasizes love and companionship over legal obligations.
  2. Financial Benefits: Cohabiting couples can enjoy the financial perks of sharing costs and managing finances together without the legal complexities of marriage.
  3. Testing Compatibility: Living together can be an excellent way to determine if you and your partner can sustain a marriage. It provides a trial period to see how well you function as a couple before making a formal commitment.

Cons of Cohabitation Over Marriage

  1. Health and Psychological Benefits: Some research suggests that marriage may offer physical and psychological benefits that cohabitation lacks, though the reasons behind these differences are still unclear.
  2. Legal Commitment: The lack of legal commitment in cohabitation makes it easier to leave the relationship. Marriage requires more thought and legal processes before dissolution, potentially adding stability.
  3. Custody Complications: If you have children while cohabiting, custody rights can become complicated if you separate since there is no clear legal framework as there is in marriage.

Cohabitation in California

California does not recognize common law marriage unless a couple, married under common law in another state, moves to California. However, California acknowledges cohabitation as a legitimate relationship form, with specific provisions for couples who prefer cohabitation over marriage.

Legal Agreements for Cohabitation

  1. Prenuptial or Premarital Agreements: If cohabiting to test your relationship before marriage, you can enter a prenuptial or premarital agreement outlining rules and laws applicable once married.
  2. Cohabitation Agreements: For those who wish to avoid the legal hassles of marriage, California offers a cohabitation agreement (also known as a nonmarital agreement). This formal contract details the responsibilities and rights of the cohabiting couple, functioning independently of marriage laws.

Online Divorce Mediation in California

For couples who decide to separate, whether cohabiting or married, online divorce mediation is a valuable resource. California divorce mediation helps couples resolve issues amicably without lengthy court battles. It is especially beneficial for cohabiting couples who need to navigate the complexities of separation without the framework of marriage laws.

In conclusion, whether you choose marriage or cohabitation depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Understanding the legal implications and benefits of each can help you make an informed decision. For those considering separation, online divorce mediation in California offers a streamlined and less adversarial process.

Gerald A. Maggio is a trained Orange County divorce mediator who has amicably resolved cases many cases out of court, as well as an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Maggio founded California Divorce Mediators in 2012 with the belief that although “not every marriage can be saved, every family can” and a mission to save families from the financial and emotional distress associated with traditional divorce litigation. California Divorce Mediators is located in Irvine, California, and serves the Orange County area and other counties in California, offering divorce mediation, child custody mediation, and mediation of other family law matters.