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Court: Common-law marriages elsewhere hold in NC

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- An appeals court says couples must establish common-law marriages in other states before moving to North Carolina to be treated as spouses in divorce proceedings.

The ruling Tuesday by the Court of Appeals means if Hulya Garrett of Iredell County wants to appeal, the state Supreme Court must consider whether living with boyfriend Charles Burris in Texas gave her rights to alimony, marital property, and divorce.

The pair never married in eight years together. Texas recognizes a couple as married if they cohabitate, tell others they're married, and agree to be married. North Carolina does not have common law marriage.

Judge Cheri Beasley dissented from the two other judges, saying Garrett moved in with Burris after he said they would be as good as married under Texas law.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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