The Difference Between Michigan Legal Separation and Divorce

The process of a Michigan legal separation is not the same as Michigan divorce. The two actually have completely different legal procedures and are made up of 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 in the state of Michigan. If you or someone close to you is faced with either of these kinds of situations, then you should keep your options open, and you should work with a Flint divorce or separation attorney to help with the process.

Distinguishing Features Between Separate Maintenance 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. 

  • In a Michigan divorce case, only one spouse needs to file to be enough to put the legal process into action. For separate maintenance, both spouses must consent on the arrangement for it to be put forth.
  • Because the couple is 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 Michigan divorce, this waiting period is only 60 days long.
  • During the duration of separate maintenance, a Michigan court can assign all child-related legal orders, from custody and parenting time to child support.

Coming to an Agreement Settlement During a Divorce

The most challenging thing about the process of Michigan divorce is coming to agreeable terms with your ex-spouse. This is not surprising, seeing as there is always a reason as to why you would want to get divorced in the first place. Most of the time, it is not something that will allow you to see eye-to-eye with your spouse. Regardless of the reason for the divorce, a Michigan divorce lawyer can help negotiate with the other party with your best interests in mind. Divorce attorneys can be the voice of reason between the two parties so that the case can be settled in a way that benefits both parties during a divorce.
 
Michigan Courts should consider the following factors when distributing marital assets:
  • the length of the marriage
  • each of the spouses’ contributions to the marital estate
  • each of the spouses’ ages and health
  • the life status of the spouses
  • the spouses’ necessities, financial needs, and circumstances
  • the earning abilities of the spouses 
  • the spouses’ past relations and conduct, and
  • general principles of equity

Whether You Decide Between Legal Separation or Divorce, Contact a Michigan Family Law Lawyer to Help with the Legal Proceedings

Going through a legal separation or divorce is a very difficult time in any marriage for the parties involved. It is an emotional and confusing time for both parties. While the ending of a marriage is never something that either party had envisioned for their relationship, the main goal during this time is clarity and a better understanding of what will make both parties happy for the future. In either case of a legal separation or divorce, a Michigan family law attorney can help answer any legal questions one might have along with providing the legal actions to begin the process of either a legal separation or divorce in Michigan. 

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