Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unmarried but Divorced


If one person in a relationship believes the couple is married and the other says they're not, what does the law say?

A Maplewood woman divorcing her husband of 18 years argued she should be treated as a spouse because she had a "good-faith belief" that they were legally married.

Initially wed in the Hmong tradition, Su Xiong and Choa Yang Xiong described themselves as husband and wife, obtained a marriage license and filed taxes and bought houses and insurance together as a married couple.

They did not, however, get a marriage certificate. The husband, Su Xiong, argued in court that this meant they were not legally married.

But the state Court of Appeals agreed with a Ramsey County district judge this week that the woman was a "putative spouse" under Minnesota law, with all the benefits that implies.

Read more here.


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There are a handful of states that still recognize common law marriage. In those states if a man and woman cohabit with the intent that their relationship be permanent and binding, then technically legally they are married...they could be the case here for the couple mentioned in this article.

Posted by: Oklahoma City Divorce | Jun 27, 2011 6:08:26 PM

they Do not legally married. how can possible to divorce but i have good idea both are mentally decide we are not stay with live in relationship.

Posted by: Maryland Family Attorney - Maryland Divorce Attorney | Jul 28, 2011 8:53:34 AM

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