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Understanding Michigan’s Legal Separation Process

 Posted on February 28, 2023 in Family Law

Novi legal separation attorneyFor a variety of reasons, when a married couple is struggling to make their relationship work, it does not always make sense for one of them to file for divorce. However, if a couple’s struggles are significant enough, separating from one another may be a healthy option. By legally formalizing their separation, each spouse can benefit from numerous protections as they contemplate whether divorce, reconciliation, or long-term legal separation is the best way forward.

Separate Maintenance: The Basics

In Michigan, the state recognizes a formal separation through the separate maintenance process. Separate maintenance functions like the “legal separation” process does in other states. Without formal recognition of a couple’s separation, each spouse could remain uniquely vulnerable to the practical, financial, and legal consequences of the other’s conduct. Additionally, formalizing a separation can allow couples to detail child custody, child support, and spousal support obligations in legally-enforceable ways.

Essentially, a separate maintenance case allows spouses to benefit from most of the arrangements that are typically finalized during a divorce. Parents can formalize child custody, parenting time, and child support arrangements, and spouses with or without kids can address asset and debt division concerns and formalize spousal support expectations via this process.  

The primary benefit of a separate maintenance case is that a couple’s legal union is not dissolved as a result of the process. This means that couples who may wish to reconcile or whose religious beliefs do not permit divorce can stay together in the eyes of the law, even as their finances are separated and they move into co-parenting roles.

The primary challenge associated with a separate maintenance case is that it may complicate health insurance coverage for the spouse who is not the primary account holder per an employer-sponsored health insurance plan.

Contact an Oakland County Separate Maintenance Lawyer to Learn More

If you are unsure about whether legal separation or divorce is the best way forward, the compassionate team of Farmington Hills, MI family law attorneys at Elkouri Heath, PLC can help to clarify the potential pros and cons of each option as they apply to your unique situation. During a free case evaluation session, we can also help you to start building a legal strategy for the best way to formally separate from your spouse.

Schedule a no-cost, confidential, and pressure-free legal consultation today by contacting us online or by calling us at 248-344-9700. You are currently navigating a potentially life-altering situation, and you should not have to manage the legal and financial challenges of your circumstances without adequate professional support. We look forward to assisting you.



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