Comedian Ron White, famous as a founding member of “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” along with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy, has been trying to prove he was never married to his wife, singer-songwriter, Margo Rey, for the last several months. Late last year, this column documented Rey’s efforts to prove that she and White were common-law married in Texas. Rey is now seeking temporary spousal support in California ($81,597 per month, according to TMZ).
White has consistently taken the position that not only were they not common-law married, they weren’t legally married, either, because they never obtained a marriage license, AND they never held themselves out as married. However, in support of her request for temporary spousal support, Rey has produced at least one witness, Florence Megginson, a stylist, who has testified that not only did she design Ron’s wedding shirt, she also attended the wedding at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas along with 300 other guests. She also testified that she has attended several dinner parties at their home in Beverly Hills, where White referred to Rey as his “wife.”
In California, a valid marriage must comply with Family Code §300 which requires that the parties consent to a marriage, have a license issued and that there is solemnization (a ceremony).
White is saying that his wedding to Rey is missing the all-important marriage license. If Rey hasn’t produced the marriage license yet, it is safe to assume she can’t. Under Estate of DePasse (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 92, a petition to establish a valid marriage can’t overcome the failure to get a marriage license.
Rey is likely still asserting that she was common-law married in Texas; California does not provide for common law marriages, but it does recognize the validity of those marriages established in other states. See Family Code §308. She may also be asserting she is a putative spouse in California; Family Code §2251 provides that if a determination is made that a marriage is void or voidable and the court finds that either party or both parties believed in good faith that the marriage was valid, the court shall assign the status of a putative spouse to one or both parties, granting her the rights of a spouse.
However, White has added a new wrinkle to the drama by producing an unsigned premarital agreement, presumably show that neither party believed in good faith that the marriage was valid. He is stating that he made it clear to Rey that without a signed premarital agreement, there would be no marriage and the wedding was just for show. At this point, White’s divorce proceeding might end up being more expensive than it would have been had he gotten married, even without a premarital agreement.
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