Claveria v. Claveria
Texas Supreme Court
615 S.W.2d 164 (1981)
Patricio Claveria (plaintiff) and Otha Faye McQuaid Claveria (defendant) participated in a ceremonial marriage. Otha subsequently died and left her property to her two children from a former marriage. Patricio challenged the distribution and claimed an interest in the property due to his ceremonial marriage to Otha. The probate court held that Patricio had no interest in Otha’s property because the ceremonial marriage to Otha was void due to a common-law marriage between Patricio and another woman, Carolina Mendoza Claveria, which was never dissolved. The probate court heard evidence that although Patricio and Carolina had never been ceremonially married, they lived together as husband and wife. Before Patricio’s marriage to Otha, Patricio testified in a workers’ compensation case that he had been married to Carolina for 16 years. Similarly, Patricio and Carolina signed home-ownership documents as a married couple. Patricio and Carolina never took action to dissolve this purported marriage. Despite this evidence, the court of civil appeals reversed, holding that there was no evidence of a former common-law marriage. Otha’s estate appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pope, J.)
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