Sometimes, couples may be considering divorce but decide that they are not quite ready for that just yet. In such cases, a legal separation may be the best thing to do. A legal separation is a legal process in which both parties receive their fair share of the marital assets and are separated from one another for a time. Yet, the couple is still legally recognized as married.
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Flint, Michigan Separate Maintenance Lawyer
In Michigan, a legal separation is known as “separate maintenance,” and it covers most of the same factors as a divorce settlement. For example, the couple will have to divide their marital assets, properties, child support, child custody, spousal support, debt, and more. In this process, there is a chance that both parties can re-share those assets by simply lifting the separation form.
How to File for Separate Maintenance in Michigan
The process of filing for separate maintenance in Michigan is very much like how you would file for a divorce. First, an individual must submit the separate maintenance form to the circuit court to the local state administration office. From there, there will be a six month waiting period before the separation filing can come into effect. During this time, the couple can cancel the filing or counter it with a divorce at any point in time. For the separation maintenance form to come into effect, at least one spouse must have lived in Michigan for at least six months or longer to ensure that there is no foul play or exploitation of interstate legal loopholes involved.
Once the separate maintenance claim goes through, the court will determine the appropriate distribution of wealth, assets, child custody, and alimony before enforcing the ruling. Once the verdict has been published, the terms and clauses in the separate maintenance form will then become legally binding.
Differences Between Separate Maintenance and Divorce
Although the process of filing for the separate maintenance may be very similar to a divorce, there are several differences that set them apart in terms of legal proceedings and binding acts.
Some of these differences are listed below:
- A couple with separate maintenance can file their tax returns jointly, unlike in a divorce where each party has to file separately.
- Neither party can remarry as long as the separate maintenance is still in effect.
- In case the woman is pregnant, the man will automatically become the legal father of the child, regardless of the actual paternity.
- Any debt that one party has can become the other party’s responsibility, much like their tax situation.
Why Choose Separate Maintenance Over Divorce?
The process of separate maintenance can be seen as a “trial divorce.” Although both parties divide their assets as they would with a divorce case, there is no financial and legal regulation that prevents them from sharing their assets. Separate maintenance is also an option for couples whose religious beliefs prevent them from getting a divorce.
Work with an Experienced Flint, MI Separate Maintenance Lawyer
Separate maintenance is something that not many people think of first when they are looking to part ways with their life partner. It is only natural that there will be confusion surrounding the legal action, which is why you need to work with a professional lawyer to ensure that everything follows the legal procedures. The professionals at Kathleen Buckley-O’Neill, P.C. have had years of experience in working within the legal boundaries of Michigan laws. We understand the process and all of its context so you can be sure that your separate maintenance filing is correct and complete. Contact us today at our Flint, MI office for more information.