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Michigan deals with the role of the state in marriage

Marriage is one of the most ancient institutions in the human experience. Nearly all cultures accepted that people can choose to bond to each other for the purposes of creating a family and home in all of recorded history. The traditional officiant of these marriages has been the church, but the state has stepped in over the last decades.

In a recent case dealing with alimony, a Michigan judge has affirmed the power of the state in the institution of marriage over the church. The Oakland County jurist ruled that alimony payments after a divorce were not warranted because the wedding ceremony was not properly licensed.

The couple in question attended a traditional marriage ceremony in their religion at a Traverse City church. The wedding involved vows, rings and a pastor, but the couple had failed to seek a marriage license beforehand. The appeals court reinstated the alimony, however, based on the divorce the couple sought in 2014.

Alimony payments are intended to support spouses who have become dependent on a married lifestyle. This is usually the case when only one spouse was responsible for income, and the other spouse has limited means to earn for himself or herself. Payments are generally calculated based on available income and the standard of living to which spouses became accustomed.

Spouses dealing with the possibility of divorce may need the assistance of an attorney. Legal representation may be helpful when the time comes to negotiate over alimony, child support, division of communal property and other related issues. No one should have to go through divorce alone.

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