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Common-Law Marriage Attorney in Mount Clemens, MI. Also serving the Warren MI area.


Did you know that Michigan law does not recognize common law marriage?

A common law or “de facto” marriage is when a couple holds themselves out as a married couple. Contrary to common belief, common law marriage is not simply the result of cohabitation for any specified period of time. Nevertheless, couples that hold themselves out as married couples in jurisdictions that do recognize common law marriage are regarded as “married”, although they never have an official ceremony or obtain a marriage license.

In the United States, only 16 states and the District of Columbia recognize common law marriage. Michigan is not one of the states that recognizes common law marriage, but may still give full faith and credit to a common law marriage if a couple are common-law husband and wife in a state that does recognize common law marriage. The same way that the State of Michigan would recognize a marriage that occurred in another state, a U.S. Territory, or another country.

Our office in Mount Clemens, MI is conveniently located to serve our clients statewide.

Common-Law Marriage

Because Michigan does not recognize common law marriage, couples who believe they have a common-law marriage in Michigan may not officially divorce through the Michigan legal system. Neither will they be permitted to use Michigan Courts for ‘marital property’ division. Couples with minor children, however, may still use the courts for custody, and support matters related to the children.

When couples who have held themselves out as a married couple decides to part ways in Michigan, there are legal complications over who gets what possessions. If you do not have a marriage license, you will need to seek a lawyer to protect your rights and properties through means other than divorce.

Unlike marriage, there are no implied matters about property in cohabiting relationships, even if their relationship closely resembles a marriage. For example:

  • One of the individuals does not automatically have the right to share business property, real estate property, or personal property owned by the other individual.
  • One individual does not automatically have the right to have the other’s property.
  • One individual does not automatically have the right to health insurance coverage on the other individual’s policy. If the couple has children together, the children can be covered by health insurance.
  • Individuals cannot receive spousal support from a partner to whom they are not married (“Palimony”).
  • One individual may not make health care decisions on behalf of the other individual if he or she is incapacitated without a valid Health Care Directive.

Child Support & Custody Rights

Child support and custody rights do, however, still apply to children of unmarried couples, even if their common law marriage is not recognized under Michigan law.

It is best to seek a lawyer to pursue the following legal claims if an individual wishes to separate from a cohabiting relationship. An attorney can help with the following:

  • Contract claims
  • Partnership claims
  • Quantum Meruit claims
  • Constructive trusts or resulting trusts
  • Real estate concepts
  • Health care directives


Are you separating from a common law marriage or a long-term cohabiting relationship? For a free evaluation of your case and further information contact Coppins Law Group today.

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Are you facing criminal charges, or dealing with family legal issues? Both are sticky situations, so hire a trusted attorney. Call Coppins Law Group!

Office Hours

Monday – Friday
8:00AM – 6:00PM

Closed Over The Weekend

We are available 24/7 for emergency calls.