The facts you have submitted indicate that Annie B. S~ entered into a ceremonial marriage
with Fred M~ in 1951. She petitioned for divorce on December 3, 1955. The petition
was dismissed for want of prosecution on June 28, 1958. No other divorce records have
been obtained, and Mr. M~ has not been located. In addition, Ms. S~ has alleged a
common-law marriage with John S~ in Kansas, beginning in the fall of 1963. She stated
that the marriage ended with Mr. S~ death on August 27, 1977.
You have asked whether Kansas law would presume of the validity of the last marriage
where that marriage is by common-law. Our response is that we have found no Kansas
decision which would change our previous opinions on this subject. Therefore, we reiterate
that in Kansas, where two marriages of an individual are proved, there is a presumption
that the first was dissolved by death or divorce before the second was contracted.
The rule is applicable even though the second was a common-law marriage. (See GC opinion
re M~ ,~ February 5, 1965; GC opinion re W~ C-6682, ~ April 21, 1949)