In Michigan, you may file a Complaint for Separate Maintenance. This proceeding is very similar to a divorce proceeding; however, at the end of the case the Judgment does not dissolve the marriage. Both parties must agree to the separate maintenance action instead of a divorce. If one party files for separate maintenance and the other party counters and requests a divorce, the matter will turn into a divorce action.
There are two main reasons we do separate maintenance actions; one is for health insurance purposes and the other is for religious reasons. Many health insurance carriers allow the spouse to continue to have health insurance coverage if the marriage is not dissolved. In a separate maintenance action all of the property is divided, and issues regarding the children are addressed. This type of action is very similar to a divorce proceeding but at the end of the case we have a Judgment of Separate Maintenance, the parties are still legally married parties and therefore many health insurance companies will allow health insurance coverage to continue. It can be very costly to continue coverage post Judgment of Divorce, and therefore if the parties agree, separate maintenance sometimes is a viable option. The second reason we see separate maintenance actions is for religious reasons. If the parties do not believe in divorce but cannot live together they may opt for a legal separation so that the marriage is not actually dissolved.
If you are thinking that you may want to file a separate maintenance action, please contact our office for a free consultation so we can discuss whether this makes sense for your situation. Call us at 248-344-9700.