Legal Separation in Michigan
Before filing for divorce in Michigan, many couples will attempt to live apart for a period of time. Usually, this involves plenty of reflection on emotional and financial matters. However, in Michigan, simply “moving out” does not make you legally separated.
What is “Legal Separation” in Michigan?
Legal separation in Michigan is granted once both spouses agree to what is called Separate Maintenance. This is a formal request or legal complaint filed in court, not a simple decision made by one party to move out. Conversely, a legal separation is not the same as a divorce, as you are still legally married to your spouse.
What is the Difference Between Legal Separation & Living Apart?
Couples can live apart for many reasons that do not have to do with marital issues. Sometimes spouses live apart due to employment reasons, as one spouse may be living in another city or state for work. They may have no intention in getting divorced.
However, when there is acrimony in a marriage, occasionally one spouse may decide to move out. They may tell friends and family they are “separated”, however, from a legal standpoint, they are not. In order to be legally separated in Michigan, a married couple would have to both agree to a legal separation. All matters that you might see in a divorce action are taken up in the court hearing for legal separation. This includes spousal and child support.
Just moving out of your home does not grant you separation from your spouse. You are still married and all obligations to the marriage are still in place. It is important to recognize this, as debt incurred will be considered marital debt, and both parties will be responsible for it.
What is the Difference Between Legal Separation & Divorce?
With all that goes into legal separation in Michigan, you might wonder how it is any different than getting a full divorce.
The major difference between legal separation and divorce in Michigan comes down to the legal status of your relationship. Let’s say you have legally separated from your spouse and have met someone that you wish to marry. In the eyes of Michigan law, you are still married to your spouse, and can not marry anyone else until the marriage is dissolved in the divorce process.
Also it is worth noting that if you file for a separation, and your spouse wishes to be divorced, then the divorce will almost surely be granted, as Michigan is a no-fault divorce state.
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