In California, we do not recognize common law marriages. In an interesting twist over the battle for Gary Coleman’s estate, his ex-wife, Shannon Price is now asking the Utah courts to recognize her alleged common law marriage to Gary Coleman. She requests the commencement date to be the date of the divorce filing through Coleman’s death. Ms. Price claims that she and Mr. Coleman continued to live together and they also continued to hold themselves out as husband and wife. Coleman most likely had a will in place awarding his estate to his surviving spouse.
It is also interesting to note that Coleman’s ex-girlfriend, Anna Gray, contends that a 2005 document awards her Coleman’s estate.
Whatever the case may be, a probate court will have to deal with these individuals wanting a piece of Coleman’s estate. Since California does not recognize common law marriages and if you and your live-in partner have an agreement that sets forth any “promises” and if those promises are not kept, your best option would likely not be in a family law court. Contact a Costa Mesa divorce attorney to explore your options.