Gene Simmons & Shannon Tweed: Not a Common Marriage

After 28 years together, KISS rocker Gene Simmons and former Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed finally got married on October 1, 2011! Probably not your common, every day wedding. Indeed, the invitation said, “Classy Cocktail Attire Requested – although we know some Rockstar attire will be worn.”

Aside from the emotional leap the wedding was for Gene and the “Finally!” sigh the world presumably heard from Shannon, it doesn’t seem like the couple’s nuptials will change their life much. After all, over the course of 28 years, they lived together and raised two now-adult kids.

How about any legal changes? Weren’t they married already? Didn’t they legally have a common law marriage after all those years? No, they didn’t. Why? Because California abolished common law marriage in 1895! In California, consensual cohabitation alone doesn’t create a marriage. Whether a couple’s lived together or not, according to Family Code Section 300, consent to be married must be followed by the issuance of a license (remember going to the County Registrar for that?) and solemnization (the “I do”s).

Although California recognizes a valid common law marriage established in another state which allows for the formation of common law marriages, you can’t form a common law marriage here. Shannon and Gene lived in California during their long, pre-marital courtship. So unless they had a valid oral or written contract (which could be the basis of a “palimony” suit) or they were Registered Domestic Partners with the state of California, Shannon isn’t entitled to any of the high net worth assets (real property, intellectual property rights, investments accounts, business and pension interests) that Gene may have amassed before he became Mr. Tweed.