If you are not prepared to file for a divorce, there is an alternative. In the State of Michigan, you may file to obtain a legal separation. This process is called “separate maintenance”.
The Difference Between Separate Maintenance And Divorce?
The procedure for obtaining a Judgment of Separate Maintenance in Michigan is practically the same as the procedure for a divorce. The difference between a divorce and a Separate Maintenance action is when a Judgment of Separate Maintenance is entered you are divorced from everything except the bounds of matrimony.
Can I Remarry If I Obtain A Judgment Of Separate Maintenance?
If you have a Judgment of Separate Maintenance in Michigan rather than a Judgment of Divorce, you cannot remarry (as you remain legally married to your spouse).
What Happens If I Obtain A Judgment Of Separate Maintenance And Now Want A Divorce?
If you receive a Judgment of Separate Maintenance in Michigan and then later decide you do want a divorce, you will need to file a new case for a divorce. If during the separate maintenance action, the Defendant request the court for a divorce, the case will be changed to a divorce action, and will proceed and be completed as a divorce action.
Why Would I Want A Separate Maintenance Judgment Rather Than A Judgment Of Divorce?
There are several reasons for deciding to file for separate maintenance over filing for divorce. Religious, moral, or economic reasons can all influence your decision. The ability to maintain insurance coverage, retain military benefits, and retain tax benefits are all considerations when determining what option is best for you.
- RELIGIOUS REASONS: Some people may fear being ex-communicated from their church if they were to divorce, so they may choose to use the Separate Maintenance procedure instead of a divorce.
- HEALTH CARE REASONS: If a party has health concerns and requires continuing medical insurance, but if they divorced their insurance would terminate, they may use the Separate Maintenance procedure to be able to continue on their spouse’s health insurance. Note that it is becoming more frequent that employers are considering a Separate Maintenance Judgment to have the same terminating effect as a divorce with respect to health care benefits.
What Can Be Determined In A Separate Maintenance Action?
A separate maintenance action is similar to a divorce action wherein property, debts, child custody, child support and parenting time are determined by the court. The difference between divorce and separate maintenance is that after the completion of the separate maintenance action, you remain married to your spouse.
GRAND RAPIDS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY SERVING KENT, OTTAWA, AND ALLEGAN COUNTY.
We understand that filing for separate maintenance can be an emotional and confusing experience. That’s why we are committed to providing personalized service to each client we represent and will be with you through this difficult journey. At Schmitt Law, PLLC we encourage clients to take a more collaborative approach to a separate maintenance action that promotes positive communication and cooperation. Through mediation or the collaborative process, Laurie guides her clients through amicable settlements so they can move forward with their life. To discuss your circumstances and legal options, contact Schmitt Law, PLLC at (616) 608-4634 to schedule a consultation. Or, contact us online to arrange a consultation.