A probate court judge in Utah has issued a ruling in the estate dispute between Gary Coleman’s former wife and former girlfriend. The judge declared that Shannon Price, the former spouse of Mr. Coleman, did not have a common-law marriage with the former child star at the time of his death in 2010.
During the trial, Ms. Price argued that, even though she and Mr. Coleman had divorced in 2008, they continued to maintain a relationship, one that equaled a marriage under Utah law. Utah is one of the few states that allows couples to enter into a marriage without a formal religious or civil ceremony, known as a common-law marriage. Ms. Price claimed that the two had entered into a common-law marriage and, therefore, she was entitled to inherit Mr. Coleman’s entire estate.
The court concluded Ms. Price did not show enough evidence to prove a common-law marriage existed, and she was therefore not married to Mr. Coleman at the time of his death. Though the court did not specifically issue an order stating who would inherit the estate, it will apparently pass in its entirety to Anna Gray, Mr. Coleman’s former girlfriend and personal assistant. Mr. Coleman created a will in 2005 that named Ms. Gray as his sole inheritor, as well as the executor of his estate.
Mr. Coleman was a former child star who had appeared on the early 1980’s sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes.” He died in 2010 after injuring himself in a fall at his home in Utah.