Carnes v. Sheldon case brief summary
311 N.W.2d 747 (1981)
Plaintiff girlfriend sued defendant
boyfriend requesting an equitable division of property held by the
boyfriend and custody of the boyfriend's minor child. The Wayne
County Circuit Court (Michigan) denied the girlfriend's request, and
CASE FACTS The boyfriend was married and, after a
divorce, was awarded custody of the couple's four children. The
girlfriend moved in with the boyfriend, and his refusal to marry her
resulted in the eventual demise of their relationship. The boyfriend
contended that there was no agreement to share his property with the
girlfriend. The girlfriend argued that the evidence supported
recovery on the basis of either a contract implied in law or implied
The court held that the girlfriend was not entitled to an
equitable division of property because:
(1) the trial court's finding
that the boyfriend did not promise to marry her was supported by the
(2) the girlfriend's unilateral expectation of marriage
could not be attributed to the boyfriend as a fraudulent act on his
(3) the parties were not putative spouses; and
girlfriend was essentially asking for relief based on a breach of
promise to marry, an action which had been specifically abolished by
legislative fiat. In addition, the court held that while the trial
court recognized the statutory requirement that it make findings of
fact under the "best interest" factor, it failed to do so.
CONCLUSION The court remanded the case for a new
child custody hearing and retained jurisdiction.
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