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What Rights Come with Legal Marriage?
— California —
© 2008, Demian


This is a partial list of the legal marriage laws in the State of California. These 200 rights and responsibilities — out of about 300 laws that are triggered by legal marriage — show the variety of societal and business interactions built into legal marriage. This list provides a glimpse of what is at stake by the denial of access to legal marriage.

While all states generally cover similar legal areas, there are state-by-state differences. Besides the state laws, the U.S. Federal system also has more than 1,138 laws which are triggered by legal marriage. [See U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married.]

Almost all states offer some form of the following marital rights:

  • Not forced to testify in court against each other
  • Make medical decisions on each other’s behalf
  • Seek wrongful death compensation
  • Access to a decedent’s estate in the absence of a will
  • Maintain life and disability insurance on a spouse
  • Eligibility for worker’s compensation death benefits
  • Automatically hold property as tenants in common


This California Family Code of laws was copied from the state’s official site for legislative information [www.leginfo.ca.gov/] in about 1997:

DIVISION 1.  PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS
  PART 1.  PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS ...................................... 1-13
  PART 2.  DEFINITIONS ............................................... 50-155

DIVISION 2.  GENERAL PROVISIONS
  PART 1.  JURISDICTION ................................................. 200
  PART 2.  GENERAL PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS ............................ 210-215
  PART 3.  TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER IN SUMMONS ................... 231-235
  PART 4.  EX PARTE TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS .................... 240-246
  PART 5.  ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS ................................ 270-273
  PART 6.  ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS AND ORDERS ...................... 290-291
  PART 7.  TRIBAL MARRIAGES AND DIVORCES ................................ 295

DIVISION 3.  MARRIAGE
  PART 1.  VALIDITY OF MARRIAGE ..................................... 300-310
  PART 2.  MARRIAGE LICENSE AND CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRY ............. 350-360
  PART 3.  SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGE
   CHAPTER 1.  PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE ............. 400-402
   CHAPTER 2.  SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGE ............................ 420-425
  PART 4.  CONFIDENTIAL MARRIAGE
   CHAPTER 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS ................................... 500-511
   CHAPTER 2.  APPROVAL OF NOTARIES TO AUTHORIZE CONFIDENTIAL
               MARRIAGES ............................................ 530-536

DIVISION 4.  RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS DURING MARRIAGE
  PART 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS
   CHAPTER 1.  DEFINITIONS .............................................. 700
   CHAPTER 2.  RELATION OF HUSBAND AND WIFE ......................... 720-721
   CHAPTER 3.  PROPERTY RIGHTS DURING MARRIAGE ...................... 750-755
  PART 2.  CHARACTERIZATION OF MARITAL PROPERTY
   CHAPTER 1.  COMMUNITY PROPERTY ................................... 760-761
   CHAPTER 2.  SEPARATE PROPERTY .................................... 770-772
   CHAPTER 3.  DAMAGES FOR INJURIES TO MARRIED PERSON ............... 780-783
   CHAPTER 4.  PRESUMPTIONS CONCERNING NATURE OF PROPERTY ........... 802-803
   CHAPTER 5.  TRANSMUTATION OF PROPERTY ............................ 850-853
  PART 3.  LIABILITY OF MARITAL PROPERTY
   CHAPTER 1.  DEFINITIONS .......................................... 900-903
   CHAPTER 2.  GENERAL RULES OF LIABILITY ........................... 910-916
   CHAPTER 3.  REIMBURSEMENT ............................................ 920
   CHAPTER 4.  TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS .............................. 930-931
   CHAPTER 5.  LIABILITY FOR DEATH OR INJURY ........................... 1000
  PART 4.  MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF MARITAL PROPERTY ............. 1100-1103
  PART 5.  MARITAL AGREEMENTS
   CHAPTER 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS ................................. 1500-1503
   CHAPTER 2.  UNIFORM PREMARITAL AGREEMENT ACT
    Article 1.  Preliminary Provisions ............................ 1600-1601
    Article 2.  Premarital Agreements ............................. 1610-1617
   CHAPTER 3.  AGREEMENTS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE ..................... 1620

DIVISION 5.  CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS
  PART 1.  FAMILY CONCILIATION COURT LAW
   CHAPTER 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS ................................. 1800-1802
   CHAPTER 2.  FAMILY CONCILIATION COURTS ......................... 1810-1820
   CHAPTER 3.  PROCEEDINGS FOR CONCILIATION ....................... 1830-1842
  PART 2.  STATEWIDE COORDINATION OF FAMILY MEDIATION AND
           CONCILIATION SERVICES .................................. 1850-1852

DIVISION 6.  NULLITY, DISSOLUTION, AND LEGAL SEPARATION
  PART 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS
   CHAPTER 1.  APPLICATION OF PART ..................................... 2000
   CHAPTER 2.  JURISDICTION ....................................... 2010-2012
   CHAPTER 3.  PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS .............................. 2020-2026
   CHAPTER 3.5.  ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS ........................ 2030-2034
   CHAPTER 4.  PROTECTIVE AND RESTRAINING ORDERS
    Article 1.  Orders in Summons ................................. 2040-2041
    Article 2.  Ex Parte Orders ........................................ 2045
    Article 3.  Orders After Notice and Hearing ........................ 2047
    Article 4.  Orders Included in Judgment ............................ 2049
   CHAPTER 5.  NOTICE TO INSURANCE CARRIERS ....................... 2050-2053
   CHAPTER 6.  EMPLOYEE PENSION BENEFIT PLAN AS PARTY
    Article 1.  Joinder of Plan ................................... 2060-2065
    Article 2.  Proceedings After Joinder ......................... 2070-2074
   CHAPTER 7.  RESTORATION OF WIFE'S FORMER NAME .................. 2080-2082
   CHAPTER 8.  UNIFORM DIVORCE RECOGNITION ACT .................... 2090-2093
   CHAPTER 9.  DISCLOSURE OF ASSETS AND LIABILITIES ............... 2100-2113
   CHAPTER 10.  RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT .............................. 2120-2129
  PART 2.  JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF VOID OR VOIDABLE MARRIAGE
   CHAPTER 1.  VOID MARRIAGE ...................................... 2200-2201
   CHAPTER 2.  VOIDABLE MARRIAGE .................................. 2210-2212
   CHAPTER 3.  PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS .............................. 2250-2255
  PART 3.  DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE AND LEGAL SEPARATION
   CHAPTER 1.  EFFECT OF DISSOLUTION ................................... 2300
   CHAPTER 2.  GROUNDS FOR DISSOLUTION OR LEGAL SEPARATION ........ 2310-2313
   CHAPTER 3.  RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS ............................. 2320-2322
   CHAPTER 4.  GENERAL PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS ...................... 2330-2347
   CHAPTER 5.  SUMMARY DISSOLUTION ................................ 2400-2406

DIVISION 7.  DIVISION OF PROPERTY
  PART 1.  DEFINITIONS ............................................ 2500-2502
  PART 2.  GENERAL PROVISIONS ..................................... 2550-2556
  PART 3.  PRESUMPTION CONCERNING PROPERTY HELD IN JOINT FORM ..... 2580-2581
  PART 4.  SPECIAL RULES FOR DIVISION OF COMMUNITY ESTATE ......... 2600-2604
  PART 5.  RETIREMENT PLAN BENEFITS .................................... 2610
  PART 6.  DEBTS AND LIABILITIES .................................. 2620-2627
  PART 7.  REIMBURSEMENTS ......................................... 2640-2641
  PART 8.  JOINTLY HELD SEPARATE PROPERTY .............................. 2650
  PART 9.  REAL PROPERTY LOCATED IN ANOTHER STATE ...................... 2660

DIVISION 8.  CUSTODY OF CHILDREN
  PART 1.  DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
   CHAPTER 1.  DEFINITIONS ........................................ 3000-3007
   CHAPTER 2.  GENERAL PROVISIONS ................................. 3010-3011
  PART 2.  RIGHT TO CUSTODY OF MINOR CHILD
   CHAPTER 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS ................................. 3020-3031
   CHAPTER 2.  MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED IN GRANTING CUSTODY ....... 3040-3043
   CHAPTER 3.  TEMPORARY CUSTODY ORDER DURING PENDENCY OF
               PROCEEDING ......................................... 3060-3064
   CHAPTER 4.  JOINT CUSTODY ...................................... 3080-3089
   CHAPTER 5.  VISITATION RIGHTS .................................. 3100-3104
   CHAPTER 6.  CUSTODY INVESTIGATION AND REPORT ................... 3110-3116
   CHAPTER 7.  ACTION FOR EXCLUSIVE CUSTODY ............................ 3120
   CHAPTER 8.  LOCATION OF MISSING PARTY OR CHILD ................. 3130-3134
   CHAPTER 9.  CHECK TO DETERMINE WHETHER CHILD IS MISSING PERSON ...... 3140
   CHAPTER 10.  APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL TO REPRESENT CHILD ......... 3150-3153
   CHAPTER 11.  MEDIATION OF CUSTODY AND VISITATION ISSUES
    Article 1.  General Provisions ................................ 3160-3164
    Article 2.  Availability of Mediation ......................... 3170-3173
    Article 3.  Mediation Proceedings ............................. 3175-3186
   CHAPTER 12.  COUNSELING OF PARENTS AND CHILD ................... 3190-3192
  PART 3.  UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION ACT ................. 3400-3425

DIVISION 9.  SUPPORT
  PART 1.  DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
   CHAPTER 1.  DEFINITIONS ........................................ 3500-3515
   CHAPTER 2.  GENERAL PROVISIONS ................................. 3550-3557
   CHAPTER 3.  SUPPORT AGREEMENTS
    Article 1.  General Provisions ..................................... 3580
    Article 2.  Child Support ..................................... 3585-3587
    Article 3.  Spousal Support ................................... 3590-3593
   CHAPTER 4.  SPOUSAL AND CHILD SUPPORT DURING PENDENCY OF
               PROCEEDING ......................................... 3600-3604
   CHAPTER 5.  EXPEDITED CHILD SUPPORT ORDER ...................... 3620-3634
   CHAPTER 6.  MODIFICATION OR TERMINATION OF SUPPORT
    Article 1.  General Provisions ................................ 3650-3654
    Article 2.  Discovery Before Commencing Modification or
                Termination Proceeding ............................ 3660-3668
   CHAPTER 7.  HEALTH INSURANCE
    Article 1.  Health Insurance Coverage for Supported Child ..... 3750-3753
    Article 2.  Health Insurance Coverage Assignment .............. 3760-3772
    Article 3.  Assignment of Reimbursement Rights Under Health
                Plan .............................................. 3780-3782
   CHAPTER 8.  DEFERRED SALE OF HOME ORDER ........................ 3800-3810
   CHAPTER 9.  SOFTWARE USED TO DETERMINE SUPPORT ...................... 3830
  PART 2.  CHILD SUPPORT
   CHAPTER 1.  DUTY OF PARENT TO SUPPORT CHILD
    Article 1.  Support of Minor Child ............................ 3900-3902
    Article 2.  Support of Adult Child ................................. 3910
    Article 3.  Support of Grandchild .................................. 3930
    Article 4.  Liability to Others Who Provide Support for Child   3950-3952
   CHAPTER 2.  COURT-ORDERED CHILD SUPPORT


These regulations governing marriage rights and responsibilities are now available to same-sex partners.
      [Please see our article: California Offers Marriage]

Previously, California had a status called Domestic Partner Registration, a legally inferior status to legal marriage, that provides some similar rights.
      [Please see: Domestic Partner Registration: The California Approach]


Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage
Nations

    Netherlands (2001)
    Belgium (2003)
    Canada (2005)
    Spain (2005)
    South Africa (2005)
    Norway (2009)
    Sweden (2009)
    Iceland (2010)
    Argentina (2010)
    Portugal (2010)
    Denmark (2012)
    France (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    Brazil (2013)
    Uruguay (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    United Kingdom
      (England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
    Luxembourg (2014)
    Finland (2014)
    Ireland (2015)
    Colombia (2016)
US States & Territories

    Massachusetts (2004)
    California (2008)
    Connecticut (2008)
    Iowa (2009)
    Vermont (2009)
    New Hampshire (2009)
    District of Columbia (2009)
    New York (2011)
    Maine (2012)
    Washington (2012)
    Maryland (2013)
    Rhode Island (2013)
    Delaware (2013)
    Minnesota (2013)
    Illinois (2013)
    Utah (2013)
    New Jersey (2013)
    Hawaii (2013)
    New Mexico (2013)
    Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Oregon (2014)
    Wisconsin (2014)
    

    Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Pennsylvania (2014)
    Indiana (2014)
    Nevada (2014)
    Virginia (2014)
    Oklahoma (2014)
    Idaho (2014)
    West Virginia (2014)
    Alaska (2014)
    Arizona (2014)
    Wyoming (2014)
    Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Florida (2014)
    Colorado (2014)
    North Carolina (2014)
    South Carolina (2014)
    Montana (2014)
    Alabama (2015)
    U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
      Ruling: All U.S. States must now
      allow same-sex couples the
      freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes

    Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
    Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
    Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
    Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
    Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
    Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
    Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
    Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
    Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
    Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
    Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
    Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
    Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
    Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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