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The theory of quasi-marital property equates property rights acquired during a putative marriage with community property rights acquired during a legal marriage.
Appellant first wife married husband who subsequently married respondent second wife. Neither appellant nor respondent knew of their husband's marriage to the other. In an heirship proceeding after the husband died, his estate was divided equally between appellant and respondent. Appellant challenged the order, contending that the evidence did not establish respondent as a putative wife and that even if she were so considered, an equal division was erroneous.
Was it an error to divide the estate of the decedent equally between appellant first wife and respondent putative wife?
The court affirmed the order dividing the estate equally between appellant and respondent. The court held that as innocent wives of a deceased practicing bigamist, appellant and respondent were entitled to equal shares of his estate which accumulated during the active phase of the bigamy.