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Legal Separation in Michigan

I am often asked by clients about "legal separation". Michigan does not have a status of "legal separation", even though this is a term commonly thrown around. Most people have heard of this term because of Hollywood celebrities being "legally separated", while California may have a status of legal separation, Michigan does not.

Michigan provides two ways to legally separate a marriage:

Divorce - The first way to be legally separated in Michigan is, of course, divorce. A divorce legally and financially separates a couple. As part of the separation, all financial assets must be divided and at the end of the process, the parties are no longer married.

Separate Maintenance - This is Michigan's version of "separation, but still legally married". The problem with this in Michigan is that the cost, process and procedure is the same as Divorce, BUT at the end of the process, the parties are still legally married. This means that if the parties want to re-marry someone else in the future, they would then have to file for divorce and do the whole process all over again, a harrowing prospect for most couples Separate maintenance is rarely used and is typically only used in cases where there is a religious objection to the word "divorce".

  • If one person files for separate maintenance and then the other person files for divorce, the case is converted from separate maintenance to a divorce case automatically.

  • Insurance companies have wizened up to couples getting Judgments of Separate Maintenance instead of a Judgment of Divorce to stay on insurance plans, this is typically no longer allowed.

Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles cases in the counties of Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Van Buren and St. Joseph, call today for a consultation. 269-381-4471


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