Marriage is an institution that should never be entered into lightly but often is. The prospect of a party with all of your friends where you will dress up and eat fancy food sounds like too much fun to miss. If it doesn’t work out, you figure you can always get a divorce.
Unfortunately, divorce should never be entered into lightly either. It is very costly and it is forever. Some people will get legally separated before they get a divorce or as an alternative to getting a divorce. The difference between legal separation and divorce is that after a legal separation you technically remain married.
In the state of Michigan legal separation is called “separate maintenance” and filing for it can be just as complex as filing for a divorce.
You will file for separate maintenance with a court in the same fashion as you would a divorce. The separating couple will divide liabilities and assets acquired during the marriage. They will normally keep any property or debts that they had before the marriage.
If a separating couple has children, a child custody arrangement will be made. Alimony and child support may be demanded during a separate maintenance trial. Unlike a divorced couple, a couple legally separated may make joint purchases in the future. The judge will award the couple a judgment of separate maintenance.
One main reason people get legally separated rather than divorced is because of religion. The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize divorce and some people who are very religious do not want to make the end of their marriage official. The Sikhs do not allow divorce either.
More often, medical issues will prevent people from getting a divorce. If one person has a chronic medical condition and they are covered by their spouse’s health insurance, it may cause them major problems if they were to get a divorce.
A legally separated couple often will eventually get a divorce if one spouse wants to remarry or if different health insurance arrangements are made.
Most people in the state of Michigan will opt for divorce. Some will have a trial separation before they file divorce paperwork. The divorce process takes at least 3 months, in which time you will live separately.
No matter if you are filing for divorce or separate maintenance, you always should be represented by an attorney. Attorneys like those at the law firm of Victoria will have years of experience filling out paperwork and making child custody and support arrangements. They will be well-versed in the divorce laws in your state and they can act as an objective third-party when negotiating with your spouse and their lawyer.
You should look for an attorney who has years of experience in divorce law. You should ask them how much time they have to devote to your case and what kind of research they will do. You should also make sure that they have a good reputation with the State Bar.
Divorce or legal separation can be very messy. Knowing the proper steps to take can help save you time and money in the long run.