The process of legal separation is not the same as divorce. The two actually have completely different legal procedures and are made up with different legal acts that distinguish them from one another. Legal separation, referred to in Michigan as separate maintenance, is a process in which the couple files to indicate their wishes to be apart from one another, but not necessarily to be legally recognized as divorced. The legal proceedings of divorce and separate maintenance are quite similar, as they require the same documents and filing processes. Kathleen Buckley-O’Neill P.C. is a reputable legal office that can help you manage your separation maintenance situation while shedding light onto the legal process. We can help you to understand the law so that you can make a better decision about every separation-related issue.
I offer highly skilled, cost-effective family law advice.
Michigan Legal Separation Lawyer
In a legal separation, the spouses will have to negotiate the division and distribution of assets, properties, custody, child support, alimony, and debt, much like in a divorce case. However, the couple is still legally recognized as married, which means that they can continue to receive the other marital benefits that other married couples do.
The Difference between Michigan Legal Separation and Divorce
There are several major differences between these two legal acts, and a couple must study these differences very carefully to understand what each entails. Listed below are some distinguishing features between separate maintenance and divorce:
- In a divorce case, only one party’s filing is enough to put the legal process into action. For separate maintenance, both parties must consent on the arrangement for it to be put forth.
- Because both parties are still recognized as a married couple, they cannot remarry during the duration of a separate maintenance agreement.
- Both parties can agree to end the separate maintenance at any time without having to remarry, and the ownership of the marital assets will return to its original state.
- If there is a minor under the guardianship of the couple, there is a 6-month waiting period before the separate maintenance can be enforced. In the case of divorce, this waiting period is only 60 days long.
- During the duration of separate maintenance, the court can assign all child-related legal orders, from custody and parenting time to child support.
Considerations Involved in Michigan Legal Separation
There are several crucial considerations that a couple must consider before going forward with the decision to file for separate maintenance.
These considerations include:
- Health Care
- Social Security
- Pension Benefits
Why Choose Separate Maintenance Over Divorce
One of the biggest reasons why couples choose separate maintenance rather than divorce is that they have a chance to reconcile with one another given that they are willing to. The process is often considered to be a trial run for the divorce. The couple can use this time to weigh the cost and benefits of their decision, and if they do decide to get back together, they have the option to do it very easily.
As divorce has long-lasting impacts on one’s finances, residency, insurance, and custody. Therefore, every alternative option should be given fair consideration. Separate maintenance gives a bickering couple a chance to reconsider their position before they make a final decision.
Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are in need of any professional help with your separate maintenance, Kathleen Buckley, P.C. is your best bet. I understand that a separation can be a difficult situation, and I will try our best to accommodate your every need. Contact my local Flint, MI office today for free consultation and more information.