Dear Family Law Attorney: My boyfriend and I of 20 years recently broke up. He makes more money than me and has always supported me financially. Does Minnesota recognize “common-law marriages”? Am I entitled to any money? Angela from Edina, MN.
Family Law Attorney: Minnesota does not recognize common-law marriages. Minnesota also has what are known as “anti-palimony” statutes. This means that you are not entitled to anything financially simply because you and your ex-boyfriend lived together as if husband and wife and “in contemplation of sexual relations.” These statutes are intended to promote the public policy of discouraging people from living together outside of wedlock. The exception to the rule is if you have a written contract in which you both acknowledged your entitlement to financial support, which very few people do.
You can get around the statutes, though, if you can prove that you contributed financially to an asset, and you are merely seeking compensation for your contributions. In this case, you would not be seeking money because of your relationship with your ex-mate, but because you can prove (hopefully) that you contributed financially to an asset, and your ex-mate would be unjustly enriched if you are not compensated for your contributions.
by Marcus P. Beyer