There are three types of legal separation in Michigan.
The first type of legal separation in Michigan is called a Separate Maintenance Agreement. A Separate Maintenance Agreement is similar to a divorce. One party files a Complaint for Separate Maintenance with the court. Unlike a divorce were the court ends the marriage with a Judgment of Divorce. A Separate Maintenance Agreement does not end a marriage although it is similar to a divorce in many ways. For example, a Separate Maintenance Agreement makes a division of property, division of debt, alimony, custody and child support.
The second type of legal separation in Michigan is called a post-nuptial agreement. A post-nuptial agreement is similar to a pre-nuptial agreement, but is entered into after marriage. A key advantage of a post-nuptial agreement is the ability to remain on your spouse’s health insurance which may not be possible in a Separate Maintenance Agreement.
The third type of legal separation in Michigan is simply a private separation agreement. In a private separation agreement there is no court involvement. Simply, the parties agree to live separately. However, unlike a Separate Maintenance Agreement or a post-nuptial agreement, a private separation agreement is not enforceable in a court. Therefore, if one party decides to no longer follow the agreement, you are out of luck.
The Allard v. Allard problem: A recent decision from the Michigan Supreme Court, may impact the pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. In simple terms, the court can still use its “equitable” powers in circumstances where a party is left with nothing in an agreement.
About Findling Law
I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.
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By: Daniel Findling