Frank Sinatra Jr., the son of the famous singer, passed away this year. His ex-wife had filed for divorce in 2013.
If that sounds slightly confusing, you’ll understand why it ended up in court. The pair had actually gotten divorced in 2001. Sinatra was paying spousal support. He then ran out of cash and quit making the payments in 2013. That year, his ex filed for divorce again.
The woman said that they were in a common-law marriage. For one thing, she said he referred to her as his wife when they were together at social events. She also said that they spent years living together after the split in 2001.
It’s also worth noting that he was still paying her the $5,000 per month all the way up until he wasn’t able to anymore. He said he felt it was his duty to do so. In 2001, the court ordered that he needed to pay it for just two years at most, so he spent roughly a decade making those extra payments.
In any case, a Texas court recently ruled on the matter, and they said that Sinatra and his ex were not legally married under common-law rules. This is important since he passed away and she now has no claim to his estate.
Sinatra himself had said before passing away that he didn’t consider it a common-law marriage. When a judge granted the second divorce, he appealed it, and he passed away during the appeal. The Texas court that just ruled in his favor was the appeals court, over-ruling the initial judgement in divorce court.
This case demonstrates the important differences between common-law marriage and traditional marriage, including the way they can impact your rights.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “No Divorce Part II for Ex of Frank Sinatra’s Late Son,” Jeff D. Gorman, Aug. 02, 2016