A Marvin agreement is an implied or express contract made between two nonmarried cohabitants/partners regarding property rights during a romantic relationship. Generally, unmarried partners living together can enter a variety of contracts, including but not limited to pooling their earnings to share property equally, holding property as joint tenants or tenants in common, or keeping their earnings and property separate. (Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal.3d 660, 674; Hill v. Westbrook’s Estate (1950) 95 Cal.App.2d 599; Della Zoppa v. Della Zoppa (2001) 86 Cal.App.4th 1144.) If established, a Marvin agreement gives property rights to a romantic partner similar to that of a married individual. As such, a Marvin claim works similarly to a breach of contract claim but is ultimately based on equity.
In order to prevail on a Marvin claim, a party must prove that an agreement existed between nonromantic partners to treat the property as theirs together. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with Marvin agreements and their relationship with property rights.