Difference Between a Divorce and Legal Separation in Michigan

It seems that everyone knows what a divorce is because, unfortunately, they have become a common occurrence in our society. Two people get married, and then, two people get “unmarried,” and are free to marry someone else. So what is a legal separation, and why does it make sense for some people?

Divorce in Michigan

Obviously, you cannot get married to another person if you are already married. So, those who are legally separated are barred from marrying another person even though the procedures and issues that need to be dealt with are the same whether a couple is seeking to get a divorce or separate maintenance.

Separate Maintenance in Michigan

In those cases where the parties elect separate maintenance, property division and spousal support issues must be dealt with should the parties have differing opinions. The three main reasons that people opt for separate maintenance over divorce are that they want to do it for family reasons, financial reasons or religious reasons. Lots of people decide that it is in the best interests of their children to stay married, therefore, they file for separate maintenance. Others may elect separate maintenance over divorce for health care and insurance purposes. Finally, separate maintenance may make sense where the parties’ religion frowns upon divorce.

Jurisdictional Requirements for Separate Maintenance

The jurisdictional requirements to file for separate maintenance are the same as in a divorce. At least one party must be a resident of the state of Michigan for at least 180 days prior to filing, and must also be a resident of the county filed in for at least 10 days prior to filing.

Talk to a Family Law Attorney Today

If you are thinking about divorce or separate maintenance, you should contact an attorney for a consultation. Attorneys can work with you and your spouse to determine what makes sense for your particular situation. Akiva Goldman & Associates have over 25 years of family law experience. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation at 586-268-2400.