187 South Old Woodward Avenue
Suite 250
Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Call Today (248) 540-3800
Divorce / Family Law Specialists
Ronald J. Bajorek
& Associates

Non-Traditional and Non-Marriage Relationships

Common law marriage – Common law marriage (where parties cohabitated and held themselves out as married) was abolished in Michigan in 1957.  Accordingly, common law marriage is no longer recognized in Michigan.  One exception is that Michigan will recognize common law marriage if the parties legally entered into in a state that does allow it (currently Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Montana, Kansas, Iowa, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Texas).  

Foreign marriages
– Michigan recognizes foreign marriages the same as if the ceremony had been performed in Michigan.  

Same sex marriages
– By constitutional amendment passed in 2004 Michigan currently does not recognize same sex marriages.  Neither does Michigan recognize same sex marriages performed in other states.  Also Michigan public employers are not allowed to provide health care benefits to employees’ same sex domestic partners.  However, many private companies currently provide domestic partner benefits.  The federal Defensive of Marriage Act states that marriage is a union of a man and woman and that a spouse is a husband or wife of the opposite sex but also provides that no state may be required to recognize a same sex marriage performed in another state.  Unlike Michigan many states have extended marital rights to same sex couples including Hawaii and Massachusetts.  In addition, some states have legalized civil unions which does not legalize same sex marriage but provides same sex couples with many advantages of marriage including use of domestic relations laws regarding annulment, divorce, child custody, child support, property division, the right to sue for wrongful death, medical rights including hospital visits, family leave benefits, joint state tax filings and property inheritance.   These states include Vermont, Hawaii, California and New Jersey.  However, the state of the law throughout the country is constantly fluctuating so that one is well advised to check the current state of the law in each jurisdiction.

Cohabitating couples
– Many couples simply live together without the benefit of a marriage license.  Often this will include purchasing a home together, joint bank accounts, pooling assets, purchasing furniture and appliances and even having children.  Seldom is this arrangement formalized in writing. If and when the couple parts ways there is no divorce since there was never a marriage.  In Michigan the courts allow a remedy for cohabitating couples allowing them to sue based upon an expressed or implied contract.  This can also involve a suit for partition of any real property, jointly owned property, a request to establish paternity (if disputed) of the children along with child support, custody and parenting time. 


Ronald J. Bajorek
187 South Old Woodward Avenue
Suite 250
Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Call Today (248) 540-3800
Located in the historic Birmingham Theatre Office Building 1 block south of Maple, in the heart of downtown Birmingham.

Providing comprehensive divorce representation throughout Michigan including cities of Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Franklin, Bingham Farms, Beverly Hills, Huntington Woods, Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Novi, Southfield, Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Clarkston, Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Commerce, Milford, Brighton, Grosse Pointe, Sterling Heights, Bloomfield Twp., Shelby Twp., Macomb, Ann Arbor, Lake Orion, Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County and Livingston County among others.

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