Marriage of Person under Court Supervision

The question of whether a person who has a guardian can get married has no clear answer in Michigan.  Until May 29, 2001, Michigan prohibited marriage by a person who is “insane, feeble-minded or an imbecile.”  Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated 551.6 (Repealed by P.A.2001, No. 9, § 1, effective May 29, 2001).  The section that prohibited such marriages was repealed on that date with the enactment of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code.

A Michigan Court of Appeals case interpreted § 551.6 to mean that no person who is under the supervision of a guardian or conservator may marry.  May v. Leneair, 99 Mich. App. 209, 297 N.W.2d 882 (1980).  However, simply repealing the prohibition does not answer the question of whether and under what circumstances a person who has a guardian or conservator may marry.  It is not even clear whether May still prohibits such marriages because the essence of the holding of the court of appeals was that the guardianship or conservatorship creates a conclusive presumption that the person lacks capacity to marry.  There are many questions here that the legislature did not answer.  Apparently it will be up to the courts to clear up the confusion.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2013 John B. Payne, Attorney

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