By now, we all know of the untimely death of child star, Gary Coleman. It was reported last week that Shannon Price, the ex-wife of Coleman, requested to be appointed special administrator of Gary Coleman’s estate. Price based this request on a handwritten document purportedly written by Gary Coleman making her the sole beneficiary of his estate. The alleged handwritten document appears to have been executed in 2007, When Coleman passed away, Price and Coleman were already divorced. Generally speaking, when couples are in the process of a divorce, the smart thing to do would be to consult a probate attorney and make arrangements to modify one’s will or trust if they have no intent to bequeth assets to their soon to be ex-spouse. In an intereseting twist, Price is now claiming that she and Coleman were in a common law marital relationship, despite being previously officially divorced.
From an Orange County divorce attorney point of view, in California, common law marriages are not recognized. California is a community property State, which means all property acquired by couples during the marriage with community property funds should be subject to an equal division upon divorce.
According to Utah statutes, the law requires that couples “request to have a common-law marriage recognized” during the relationship or within one year after the end of the relationship. It is unclear if Price and Coleman had their purported common law marriage recognized.
If you are contemplating a California divorce, please contact an Orange County divorce attorney for information.