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buttercup2017

Legal Divorce, not legally married

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I have a friend that got a legal divorce and was ordered to pay spousal and child support. My question is, if they were found out to be never married, meaning no marriage license or proof of a legal marriage, can my friend sue for that money back and for the spousal to stop?

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What does "no . . . proof of a legal marriage" mean?

 

The lack of a marriage license doesn't mean no legal marriage existed.  Obviously, it depends on the applicable state law.  However....

 

Whichever of the two filed for divorce obviously thought they were married.  You didn't identify the state, but I don't know any state in which a petition or complaint for divorce doesn't contain an allegation along the lines of "The Parties were married on [DATE]."  If your friend was the one who filed, why would he/she seek a divorce if he/she didn't believe they were legally married?  If your friend's spouse was the one who filed, did your friend contest the existence of a valid marriage?  If not, why not?  How long ago was the divorce judgment or decree entered?

 

The fact that the court entered a divorce judgment or decree is conclusive proof that a valid marriage occurred.  Unless that happened so recently that there is still time to appeal (and it doesn't sound like that's the case), then your friend is out of luck.

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No proof meaning the state in which they were married does not have proof of a license that was returned or on record. The divorce was 1 year ago. It was the ex wife that filed and he did not question it until he went online to find the information. It is in the state of Michigan. I thought you need proof that the marriage was valid?

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1 hour ago, buttercup2017 said:

I thought you need proof that the marriage was valid?

 

To get a divorce?  No.

 

If the party filing the divorce alleges that the parties were married and the other party doesn't contest it, then the court will assume it's true and not require anyone to "prove" the marriage.

 

Sounds to me like your friend is bummed about having to pay alimony and is trying to find some loophole to get out of it.  Not gonna happen.

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Lmao.Well  he is not bummed,  we just found out some information that they may not have been. It was not something he was looking for, it just happen to play out that way. But with all that extra you said, you never answered the question. So if you can't answer it, there is no need to respond...OK....THANKS!

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3 hours ago, RetiredinVA said:

The court is entitled to rely on the parties pleaded and admitted facts.  The absence of online data is not proof the marriage did not occur.

Again...no one is answering the question. 

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5 hours ago, buttercup2017 said:

My question is, if they were found out to be never married, meaning no marriage license or proof of a legal marriage, can my friend sue for that money back and for the spousal to stop?

 

Yes, he can sue because anybody can sue anybody for anything.

 

Now here's the answer to the question you should have asked but didn't.

 

Can he win?

 

No.

 

 

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Is your friend alleging the parties never got a marriage license, never appeared in front of a celebrant, never stated they married each other before the celebrant, and never lived together as husband and wife?  Or is he alleging there was a clerical error in recording the record of the marriage?  If the latter, it is a guaranbteed loser.

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14 hours ago, buttercup2017 said:

you never answered the question.

 

Ok...the question asked in the original post was as follows:  "if they were found out to be never married, meaning no marriage license or proof of a legal marriage, can my friend sue for that money back and for the spousal to stop?"  As phrased, this is a conditional question (that's what the "if" clause at the beginning means), which means that the question is moot if the condition is not true (as is the case here).  As far as the court is concerned, your friend was married and now is divorced.  That's not going to change unless Michigan has some really unusual laws.**  Hence, the question is moot.

 

** To the best of my knowledge, none of the regulars who post here are from Michigan, much less are lawyers who practice family law in Michigan.

 

However, if you'd like us to assume that the condition is true (or that Michigan has unusual laws), then the answer to the question is yes, your friend can sue his ex-spouse.  In fact, I can sue his ex-spouse.  I can also sue you, and you can sue me.  I can sue "adjusterjack" for the wrongful death of Alexander the Great, and "RetiredinVA" can sue me for infringing the copyright in Gone with the Wind.

 

Of course, having the ability to sue has nothing to do with the likelihood of succeeding.  In order to assess your friend's chances of succeeding, we'd have to know the relevant facts -- e.g., why did your friend' and his/her ex-spouse believe they were married (see "RetiredinVA's" most recent post above)?

 

Even if there were a way for your friend to have the divorce decree (including the spousal support order) set aside on the basis that the parties were never married, it is highly unlikely that the court would order the ex-spouse to repay any support already paid.  However, if your friend really wants to pursue this, he'll need to consult with a local family law attorney.

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