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Woman’s church ceremony doesn’t upset alimony, court says

May 22, 2019

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A court says a church ceremony that resembles a wedding isn’t a marriage if there’s no license.

The decision by the Michigan appeals court is worth $120,000 a year to Karen Lueck (LUKE). She was divorced in 2014 and is entitled to alimony for 10 years unless she remarries.

A pastor at First Congregational Church of Traverse City performed a Christian marriage ceremony for Lueck and her partner, Matthew Bassett. They exchanged vows and rings — but didn’t seek a marriage license.

Oakland County Judge Lisa Gorcyca cut off Lueck’s financial support in 2017, saying her actions were “fraudulent and manipulative.” But the appeals court this week threw out Gorcyca’s decision and reinstated the alimony.

The court says Lueck’s ceremony wasn’t a new marriage without a license.

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