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Can My Spouse and I Get a Legal Separation in Michigan?

 Posted on April 20, 2021 in Family Law

Oakland County separate maintenance lawyerThere are a variety of reasons why marriages break down or fail, leading couples to pursue a divorce. However, this will legally terminate a couple’s marriage, which is an irrevocable step that some couples may not be ready to take. In many cases, couples choose to have a trial separation while they determine whether they can repair their relationship, or they may wish to remain married for religious or cultural reasons. 

Those who want to begin separating from their spouse but do not yet want to get divorced may be considering a legal separation. The laws in Michigan refer to this type of situation as “separate maintenance,” and couples will need to understand the procedures followed in these cases and the legal issues that may affect them.

Understanding Separate Maintenance

If a person is looking to separate from their partner while remaining legally married, they can file a complaint for separate maintenance. This complaint is similar to a petition for divorce, and as with a divorce petition, it will state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. After being served with a complaint for separate maintenance, the other spouse can admit or deny the grounds cited, or they can file a counterclaim for divorce and begin the process of legally ending their marriage.

A separate maintenance case will address all of the same issues as a divorce case. Spouses will need to resolve matters related to the division of marital property, child custody, and child support, and one spouse may be required to pay spousal support/alimony to the other. Spouses can work together to create a separation agreement that addresses these issues, or they can use litigation to resolve these matters in court.

Following a judgment of separate maintenance, spouses will be able to live separately, but they will remain legally married. Spouses should be aware that if a child is born to a mother who is still legally married, her spouse will be considered the child’s legal parent, even if another person is the biological father. If either spouse wishes to get remarried, they will need to receive a divorce. After filing for divorce, they may be able to incorporate the decisions made in their separation agreement into their divorce decree.

Contact Our Novi Separation Agreement Lawyers

If your marriage has broken down, but you do not know if you are ready for divorce, the lawyers of Elkouri Heath, PLC can help you understand your legal options. We will advise you of your rights when pursuing separate maintenance, and we will help you negotiate a separation agreement that will provide for your needs. Contact our Farmington Hills family law attorneys at 248-344-9700 to schedule your free consultation today.



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