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Would you please provide me with a little bit more information concerning this issue? Were you living together in California and that is why you are referring to her as your common law wife?
First of all, I am sorry for your loss. Common law marriage is when two people hold themselves out as being married and consider themselves to be married, but there was no official ceremony. Most states do not recognize common law marriage. California is one of the states that does not recognize common law marriage. You indicated that a chaplain performed the marriage ceremony 9 days before your wife passed away, but that there were no "legal papers" and that the chaplain denied performing the ceremony. In California, both parties must appear in person to the county clerk's office and they must bring valid photo IDs to apply for a marriage license. There is no waiting period and the license is valid for 90 days. There is no blood test required and no residency requirement. If you did not obtain a marriage license and the officiant is denying ever performing such a ceremony, then you were not legally married. I know this is not the answer you were hoping for. If you have further questions regarding this, please let me know.
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