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Family Law
WMU-Cooley Law School
Cunningham, James P.

Family Law Outline
Marriage and Non-Marriage Relationships
Marriage and Non-Marriage Relationships Generally
                                        1.    Requirements for Marriage (CLC)
a.    Consent
i.      MCLA 551.1 (Marriage Statute)
                                                                                                                                        –      Must be between man and woman
                                                                                                                                        –      If people can’t consent à marriage = invalid
§ MCLA 551.3 – can’t marry: sister, grandmother, daughter, cousin (first degree), etc…
§ K between man and women
                                                                                                                                        –      Can’t consent:
§ To bigamy
§ Under 16
§ Between 16-18 must have consent of 1 parent or guardian
§ Idiot, insane, institutionalized
b.    License
i.      Wait 3 days – BUT – no more than 33 days
                                                                                                                                        –      Vegas = not have to wait 3 days
c.    Ceremony (or Solemnization)
i.      Before a certain person
                                                                                                                                        –      District judge, magistrate, mayor of city, county clerk of county of more than 2 million, minister who is also authorized
ii.    Fee is required
                                                                                                                                        –      Money is turned over to state
iii.   2 witnesses
iv.   If screwed up – marriage is still held up
                                                                                                                                        –      i.e. lack of jurisdiction
                                                                                                                                        –      Policy – any overt demonstration of solemnization is going to be ok
                                        2.    Substantive Issues
a.    Presumptions
i.      Doertech – guy got killed – wife sought compensation through state – she was married to another man and lived with him and disappeared (no divorced) – she then married guy that got killed (valid marriage)
                                                                                                                                        –      Law presumes validity of ceremonial marriage
§ Marriage is presumed valid
                                                                                                                                        –      Can be rebutted
                                                                                                                                        –      Policy is to foster performance of marriage – subsequent marriage is more permanent
                                                                                                                                        –      Most recent is valid
b.    Doctrine of Lex-Loci – where a marriage is validly contracted (CLC) – it will be good anywhere UNLESS against stated public policy (i.e. man and man)
i.      Toth – married in Hungary – first cousins
                                                                                                                                        –      Properly married
                                                                                                                                        –      Valid in Hungary = valid in MI
Common Law Marriage and Cohabitation
                                        1.    “1957”
a.    Before 1957 in MI à just needed consent to get married
i.      Even if common law marriage – must get divorced
ii.    Prove through circumstantial evidence
iii.   Grandfathered in have common law marriage
b.    After 1957 in MI à CLC
                                        2.    Cohabitation
a.    Certain circumstances again the law to live together
b.    Criminal Problems
i.      Lude and lesvilously
                                                                                                                                        –      MCL 750.355 – if L/L = misdemeanor
ii.    Adultry – if divorced and ex-spouse live together
                                                                                                                                        –      MCL 750.30 – .32
§ It’s possible that policy of sanctity of marriage is violated
                                                                                                                                        –      Guilty of felony – when crime is married woman and unmarried man – man is guilty of adultery and liable for same punishment
iii.   MCL 750.158 – sodomy
                                                                                                                                        –      Guilty of felony – 15 years
iv.   Gross indecency
v.    Bad language in front of minors
c.    Rights arising out of cohabitation
i.      Agreement – can be either expressed or implied
ii.    Create K’s
iii.   Property issues
iv.   Still can have rights that enforced in a court
Palimony – a right of support can arise
                                        1.    Definition – dissolve marriage that was otherwise valid and say it never happened because of existing defect – and defect must exist and time of marriage
a.    Under certain conditions you can get a marriage annulled:
i.      Bigamy
ii.    Fraud
                                                                                                                                        –      Must go heart of the marriage
iii.   1 of 3 requirements of CLC not met
iv.   Prohibited by law
v.    Non-age
vi.   Etc…
Brief History of “No-Fault” Legislation
Wrong Doing – has nothing to do with getting divorced

separate property(marital v. non-marital)
i.      Separate non-marital v. marital
                                                                                                                                        –      Not separate
§ Acquired during marriage
o   Byington – property came into someone’s hands after divorced but happened because marriage
                                                                                                                                          i.    If during period – parties were together – it counts
                                                                                                                                        ii.    Property received while separated still counts as marital property
                                                                                                                                        –      Separate
§ Stuff given just to you
§ Inheritance
§ Stuff you had before you got married
                                                                                                                                        –      Exceptions for separate property
b.    Second – possible invasion to separate property
i.      MCL 552.401 – Non-holding spouse had something to do with appreciation, acquisition, or improvement
                                                                                                                                        –      Appreciation – either passive or active
§ Passive – nothing to do – if passive growth occurred during marriage à stays with holder
§ Reeves – started co-habitiating, H got 10% interest in plaza, bought a condo for 10k, bought 2 more investment condos
o    Court gave H – plaza and appreciation because passive, once married appreciation for condo was marital property
ii.    Separate but insufficient for needs of the other party
                                                                                                                                        –      552.23 – if award is insufficient for support – ct can reward part of property of another
                                                                                                                                        –      Charlton – divorce trial where W received 55k and used 10k for down payment of house, 28k for living expenses – 23k left for invaded and divided
§ Lived outside means
§ Determined that was enough to invade