Protections the Stay-At-Home Girlfriend Has

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Divorce, Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreements, Property Division

You have probably seen this trend all over social media, especially on TikTok. This TikTok usually starts with a woman– gracefully opening some blinds, engaging in excessive morning skin care routine, going to Pilates, hanging out by the pool, etc. A Stay-At-Home-Girlfriend is a woman who is not working and is being financially supported by her boyfriend.

A stay-at-home girlfriend is essentially doing the same thing as a stay-at -home wife, because what is also shown in these TikToks is the women are the ones that are cleaning the home, cooking the meals, and overall maintaining the household. While the everyday life of a stay at-home girlfriend and a stay-at-home wife look the same. There are major differences to what can happen if the relationship ends in a divorce in contrast to a breakup. The reason for this is that there are just some undeniable perks and protections that a stay-at-home wife has, that a Stay-At-Home-Girlfriend does not.

California does not recognize common law marriage, essentially what this means is that couples will not be considered legally married no matter how long they have lived together, and the woman would not be able to gain the benefits of being someone’s wife if the relationship was to end. Rather, California is a community property state, in absence of an agreement between the parties, at divorce each party is entitled to half of the community property assets that were acquired during the marriage.

It is easier to walk away from a relationship than a marriage, as such, if an unmarried couple were to break up, the Stay-At-Home-Girlfriend will not be entitled to any alimony regardless of the time she has spent keeping up with the household during the duration of the relationship, and her income declining because of no longer being financially supported by her boyfriend. Additionally, at the end of this relationship, there would be no dividing of assets because what is his, is his, and he can simply walk away with anything he bought during the relationship.

However, this does not mean that the Stay-At-Home-Girlfriend does not have any protections at all under California law, because California does recognize the Marvin Agreement. A Marvin agreement is an implied or express contract made between two nonmarried partners regarding property rights during a romantic relationship. The Marvin Agreement is usually applicable to a couple who may have an understanding that one partner financially supports the other, and then the couple separate, and this could be used as an alternative for the non-supporting partner to receive some support and stay financially afloat.

We know that getting married is not in the plans for everyone, despite the contrary belief a person just like the Stay-At-Home-Girlfriend, may be protected under California law.  If you have any questions about entering into a co-habitation agreement, or if you feel that you are entitled to some compensation through a Marvin Agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.