Technically, legal separation is not recognized in Michigan. A couple may live separately and have their own agreements, but under the law they are still married and there are no legal limitations.
However, there is a "separate maintenance" legal proceeding that may be filed. One spouse has to file for the separate maintenance, and the other spouse may agree or make a counterclaim asking for divorce. If the counterclaim for divorce is filed, it considered first by the court.
You may get this separate maintenance agreement, and property is divided, and child support and custody issues are settled by the court hearing the case. The marriage itself is still legal and a person could file for divorce later. The courts will divide property equitably, but that does not mean equally. Each spouse may keep inheritances and some other property that will not be considered.
Michigan is a "no-fault" state when it comes to marriage. The spouse making the charge asking for separate maintenance does not have to prove his or her case. The other spouse may agree, or object, but also does not have to prove a case. If you have a separate maintenance agreement, you are still legally married and may not marry another person. If you do want a divorce later, you will have to start over with a new case.
There are several reasons a person might want to have a separate maintenance agreement but remain married. Such as:
- Being able to stay on a spouse's health insurance
- Religious concerns or issues
- Immigration issues
If you're looking for legal representation for your case, contact the team at Gerkin & Decker today. From estate planning to business lawyers and divorce, we have a skilled team ready to handle your case. Contact us today for a consultation!