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Allged Texas common-law marriage could prove costly to music star

When Texas couples break up, they likely disagree over a number of issues. However, whether or not they were married isn't usually one of them. For music star Amethyst Amelia Kelly, known to millions of music fans as Iggy Azalea, it is.

The Australian rapper is disputing claims by a man who recently filed for divorce from her. He contends that the two were common-law spouses in Texas. Although they reportedly lived together in the state, her representatives claim that she never agreed to be married. They have also raised questions regarding her young age at the time.

In the divorce papers, however, the man claims that the two "agreed to be married, holding themselves out as man and wife and began residing together in the State of Texas on or about September 2008." Under Texas law, a couple is considered to have a common-law or "informal" marriage if they agree to be married, live together in the state and "represent themselves to other individuals that they are married to one another." They may file a Declaration of Informal Marriage, but it is not necessary under the law if the other criteria are met.

The decision over whether the two are married could have significant financial ramifications for the singer. Her spokespeople contend that financial gain and a quest for media attention are behind the man's actions. They have accused him of "elevating his predatory relationship with a 17-year-old girl into a sham 'marriage' claim unsupported by any certificate or evidence." If the two are determined to have legally entered into marriage, he could be entitled to as much as half of the intellectual properties of the artist who has skyrocked to fame with hits like "Black Widow" and "Fancy."

Texans need to be aware of the criteria for common-law marriage in the state to ensure that they do not find themselves having to turn over property, income or other assets against their wishes. People who are cohabitating, whether they choose to enter into a common-law marriage or not, could benefit from legal guidance to avoid unfortunate and potentially-costly surprises if the relationship ends.

Source: The Christian Post, "Iggy Azalea Divorce News: Artist Served With Divorce Papers Even Though She's Never Married" Arvin Donguines, Oct. 16, 2014

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