Despite wedding vow renewal, Conyerses still mull split

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Despite renewing their wedding vows recently, one of Michigan’s most high-profile political couples still appears to be headed for a divorce.

Two November trial dates were scheduled Friday for further hearings into the divorce proceedings of 87-year-old U.S. Congressman John Conyers Jr. and his wife, former Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers, 51.

The couple renewed their wedding vows last month in an outdoor ceremony. It sparked speculation they were making up and headed to a reconciliation.

Attorney Arnold Reed, who is representing John Conyers, said “at this point it looks like the parties are headed for trial.”

“There will be numerous issues that will arise in this case that have to be resolved. I can’t say what they are at this juncture.”

The couple have been married for 25 years.

Monica Conyers’ attorney, Royal Oak lawyer Daniel Findling, said setting a trial date “just means the parties are conflicted and were not certain where the journey will end.”

Findling said the couple “will either work out a private agreement, divorce or (decide upon) a reconciliation.”

He said the trial date “just gives them time to determine what journey they are going to take and provide a date if they are unable to resolve.”

“They’re still trying to determine the best course of action given the circumstances. I can only presume that (the renewal of the Conyers’ wedding vows) that the parties still love each other and want to make it work.”

Monica Conyers filed for divorce from John Conyers on Sept. 3, 2015. The Congressman counter-sued a few weeks later Sept. 21, 2015. Monica Conyers cited “a breakdown of marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed. There remains no reasonable likelihood the marriage can be preserved.”

Attorneys for both sides agreed Friday to a Nov. 16 review hearing; and for a trial date of Nov. 22 and 23 before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Alexis Glendening.

Reed said as in the case of many other couples, the Conyerses reconciled and then “something occurs and they unreconciled.” He cautioned: “Like Michigan weather: talk to me tomorrow.”

But as of now Reed said “we are going full steam ahead.”

John Conyers was first elected to Congress in 1964. As the longest serving Congressman, he is the dean of the U.S. House. He married Monica Conyers in 1990. The couple have two adult sons.

Monica Conyers was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2005. She pleaded guilty to city hall corruption charges in 2010, which ended with a 37-month federal prison sentence for accepting financial bribes for a favorable vote on a $1 billion sludge-hauling deal. She was released from probation eight months early in August 2014.

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Staff Writer Melissa Nann Burke contributed.