The James Brown Feels Good; Died Single
Dying Christmas Wish
After 14 years of litigation, James Brown got his dying Christmas wish – that his estate go to children’s education instead of his golddigger ex-not-wife, Tomi Rae Hynie.
James Brown died on Christmas Day (December 25, 2006). At the time of his death, his will specified that upon his death, a trust was to be formed called “I Feel Good” with his music royalties going to the education of needy children in South Carolina and Georgia.
In a dragged out probate proceeding, his ex-not-wife laid claim to his property until the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that she wasn’t his wife.
All that money meant to go to education of children instead went to greedy lawyers to fight! The ridiculousness of the legal system we all hate! Even the Judge said this: “The ongoing litigation since Brown’s passing has thwarted his expressed wish that his estate be used for educational purposes … a point we find both extraordinary and lamentable.”
Ex Not Wife
At the time of his death, the legal question arose as to whether Tomi Rae was his wife. Tomi Rae, 36 years younger than James Brown, was his one-time backup singer.
However, the court ruled they were NEVER married.
You see, Tomi Rae first married Javed Ahmed, a Pakistani man, in February 1997.
It didn’t work out, and Tomi Rae did not divorce or annul her marriage to Javed.
In December 2001, Tomi Rae then married James Brown.
Tomi’s Lies About Her First Marriage
Tomi did not disclose she was married. And no, it wasn’t just “Oops, I forgot”. The marriage license she signed with James Brown states under penalty of perjury, “This is my first marriage”.
A Little Bird Told James Brown
Sometime in 2003, good old Karen (or male counterpart of Karen), told James that Tomi was still married to Javed as they never divorced!
Legally this means her marriage to James is invalid, or VOID.
Tomi Rae Filed for Annulment on December 2003
Tomi Rae filed a Petition for Annulment in December 2003.
James Brown File for Annulment from Tomi Rae on January 2004
James Brown filed to annul his marriage to Tomi based on the fact she is already married (bigamy = void).
Tomi Rae’s Marriage to Javed Annulled in April 2004
The Court annulled Tomi Rae’s first marriage in April 2004.
James Brown Amends Annulment Complaint on May 2004
James Brown thereafter moves to amend his Complaint for Annulment. Tomi Rae responds with a divorce filing, seeking spousal support and award of property.
Both their cases were dismissed without prejudice, under an Order that said Tomi Rae would forever waive any claim of common law marriage to James Brown.
James Brown and Tomi Rae thereafter dated on and off until James Brown passed away Christmas Day 2006.
There was never another marriage ceremony.
Family Lawyer Analysis
1. Void v. Voidable marriages.
2. There are some exceptions where Courts have recognized a VOID marriage. Usually when it’s unfair to the person who didn’t know. This is the “putative spouse” (someone who believes in good faith they are married).
3. Courts don’t like lying golddiggers.
4. If the situation was REVERSED – Different Outcome
5. James Brown Feels Good; Died Single