In Michigan we do not recognize “legal separations” like some states do, but we do have something that is very similar: separate maintenance. In order to shed some light on this legal concept some frequently asked questions about separate maintenance have been answered below.
Q: What is “separate maintenance”?
A: When a married couple in Michigan decides that they would like to legally separate from each other but are reluctant to dissolve their marriage via divorce (often for religious or health reasons), they have the option of filing an action for separate maintenance with the circuit court. If the court grants their request then the couple will be free to legally live separate lives while still remaining married.
Q: What sorts of legal matters are generally addressed in a judgment of separate maintenance?
A: When a family law judge in Michigan issues a judgment of separate maintenance, the judgement will address all of the legal issues as in a divorce, including, but not limited to, property division, child support, separate maintenance payments (aka alimony), and child custody.
Q: What are the eligibility requirements for obtaining a judgment of separate maintenance in Michigan?
A: Code section 552.7 of the Michigan Compiled Laws states that a judgment of separate maintenance can be issued as long as there is evidence that there has been a breakdown of the marriage such that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be salvaged. (Same grounds as a divorce.)
Q: Can the court issue a judgment of separate maintenance over one spouse’s objection?
A: After one spouse files an action for separate maintenance the defendant spouse may either (a) admit the grounds for separate maintenance listed in the petition (b) deny them or file a counter complaint for divorce (which then must be granted). The court has the power to grant a judgment of separate maintenance only if the defendant spouse doesn’t file a counter complaint for divorce.
Reach Out to Us for Legal Help Today
If you have questions about filing an action for separate maintenance or divorce in Michigan the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins is here to help. Family law attorney Michael Robbins is a well respected lawyer who has extensive experience representing both men and women throughout Michigan, including the metro Detroit areas of Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties, and would be happy to assist you. To discuss your case during an initial consultation at our Bloomfield Hills office please schedule an appointment by filling out our online contact form or calling us at (248) 646-7980.