A Domestic Partnership Agreement may seem appealing to couples who do not want to walk down the aisle in that in some ways it can simulate a marriage with the associated rights. What are the main characteristics of such an agreement?
Upon separation, the parties must abide by the terms of the agreement or otherwise must enter a breach of contract civil proceeding that may result in a jury trial. This is unlike a Michigan divorce where Judges handle trials exclusively in what is known as a “bench trial.”
If the agreement does not provide for support of the less monied party, then that party is not generally entitled to support based on Michigan law which does not recognize ‘common law’ marriage.
A domestic partnership agreement is not the equivalent of entering a legally recognized marriage under Michigan Law by obtaining a marriage license and solemnizing the union pursuant to Michigan Law. However, it is a contract that the parties can enter into which will govern the terms of their domestic ‘union’ and how it will be dissolved upon separation.
If the parties have children, a contractual provision which waives child support is not enforceable. The parties can always file a motion in the family courts to allow a Court to decide what the custody and child support orders will be which they must abide by. Such an Order would override the terms of their agreement but the Court’s decision may see the agreement as evidence of the parties’ intent as to custody of an existing child at the time the agreement was entered into.
If you are interested in knowing more about marital and non-marital agreements are considering starting a family law case to protect your rights, contact Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law.