What is a Legal Separation? Determining Legal Separation in Michigan

Just because you decide to leave home and physically separate from your spouse does not mean you are “legally separated” under Michigan law.

For a couple to be “legally separated” under Michigan law, one spouse must file a request or a complaint about Separate Maintenance. The other spouse must agree to the legal separation proceedings; if the other spouse does not agree and prefers to be divorced, the court undoubtedly will grant the divorce over a legal separation. Individuals may choose legal separation over divorce to allow time for reconciliation, maintain certain legal protections, preserve financial benefits, or due to religious or cultural beliefs.

All issues considered in a divorce action are considered within legal separation proceedings, including custody, parenting time, child support, property division, and spousal support. The main difference between a divorce and legal separation is that when you are divorced, your marriage is legally over, and perhaps more importantly, you are free to marry someone else. If you are only legally separated, your marriage has not been dissolved, and you are still technically married but only “legally separated.” To marry another person, you must first obtain an absolute divorce. Converting a legal separation to an absolute divorce may mean starting a new action. However, it may be possible to file a simple motion with the court of appropriate jurisdiction asking the court to convert the Judgment of Separate Maintenance to an absolute Judgment of Divorce. This process will require filing divorce papers. Which way you proceed entirely depends upon what your Judgment of Separate Maintenance indicates.

A person might want to have a legal separation agreement but remain married for several reasons, such as being able to stay on a spouse’s health insurance or religious concerns. Financial benefits, such as maintaining health insurance coverage, can be a significant reason for choosing legal separation. Financial responsibilities, including dividing assets and debts, are crucial in legal separation and divorce proceedings.

If you are only legally separated, your marriage has not been dissolved, and you are still technically married but only “legally separated.” The couple remains legally married, so they must address important matters such as property division and child custody through legally binding agreements. Converting a legal separation to an absolute divorce may mean starting a new action. However, it may be possible to file a simple motion with the court of appropriate jurisdiction asking the court to convert the Judgment of Separate Maintenance to an absolute Judgment of Divorce. This process will require a separation agreement, which outlines the terms and responsibilities of the separation.

If you need legal representation for your case, contact the team at Gerkin & Decker today. We have skilled lawyers ready to handle your case. Contact us today for a consultation!

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How is Legal Separation Determined in Michigan?

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The Initial Divorce Consultation: Determining Your Options

The old saying “knowledge is power” couldn’t be more true when you’re a man dealing with family issues. Religious beliefs can be a factor in choosing legal separation over divorce. Whether you’re married and contemplating divorce or legal separation or have post-judgment custody or parenting, understanding the process and implications of legal separations is crucial. Legal separations involve the division of assets, child custody, support, and alimony and prevent remarriage without an official divorce. Couples may legally separate for various reasons, including financial and religious considerations.

Before you take action, speak with an experienced divorce attorney to understand the differences between separation and divorce. Divorce is the legal and permanent dissolution of marriage, while separation allows for reconciliation and involves legal agreements.

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