(CN) — Frank Sinatra Jr. did not enter into a common-law marriage with his ex-wife of 15 years, a Texas appeals court ruled, cutting the woman off from Sinatra’s estate.
Cynthia and Frank Sinatra Jr. divorced in 2001, but Cynthia filed to divorce Frank again in 2013.
Frank had just stopped paying Cynthia spousal support, having run out of money.
Though the first divorce decree required Frank to pay Cynthia $5,000 a month in spousal support for up to 24 months, barring remarriage or death, Frank said he had kept on paying Cynthia out of a sense of duty.
Cynthia claimed that Frank still called her his wife at social events and that they lived together for many years after the divorce.
By his own testimony, the pair had “remained close” after their divorce, but he disputed that they had been in a common-law marriage.
A district judge in Wharton County nevertheless granted Cynthia the divorce, a judgment that included a $500,000 equalization payment, a share of Frank’s property, and $5,000 per month in spousal maintenance.
Frank died earlier this year at age 72 while his appeal was pending.
A three-judge panel of the 13th District Court of Appeals reversed for Frank’s estate on July 28.
“Cynthia believed that after a legal divorce, if the relationship does not change, then the marriage continues,” Chief Justice Rogelio Valdez wrote for the court in Corpus Christi – Edinburg. “However, an agreement to create a common marriage must be specific and mutual.”
Valdez added that neither Cynthia nor Frank claimed to be married “when it came to legal matters.”
“For example, evidence was presented that Cynthia and Frank purchased a home together after the divorce listing them as single tenants in common, each party filed separate tax returns with Frank filing as single and Cynthia filing as head of household, and Frank filed gift tax returns for approximately $4.7 million that he gave to Cynthia after the divorce wherein he labeled her as his ex-spouse,” the ruling states.
Cynthia also took Frank to court in 2014, claiming that he refused to sell a property from which she expected half the proceeds.
Frank followed his legendary father into a singing career and was kidnapped at the age of 19 while he was on tour.
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