Representing Clients Who Prefer Not To Divorce
In cases where a marital relationship is irretrievably broken, the natural assumption is for the couple to get a divorce. There are times, however, that the couple may have reason to remain married, including religious beliefs, tax purposes, the need for one spouse to remain on the other’s health insurance if permitted or other personal reasons where the parties want to protect the sanctity of the marriage for themselves or their children. For these people, legal separation is often the best alternative.
At Lana Panagoulia Law, PLLC, we respect the cultural values and life issues that need to be considered when a marital relationship comes to an end. We take the time to fully understand your concerns and recommend a solution that fulfills your goals and your children’s best interests.
“It has been comforting and reassuring giving Lana my case. Her professional knowledge and human touch are complementing each other, and you feel protected and cared for. Highly recommended. Thank you, Lana.” — Anonymous client on AVVO’s
Michigan Legal Separation Or “Separate Maintenance” Lawyer
Commonly referred to as “legal separation,” “separate maintenance” works in much the same way as a traditional divorce. In Michigan, there is no legal cause of action called “legal separation”; rather, it is referred to as a “separate maintenance action.” The only real difference between divorce and separate maintenance is that the couple is still legally married. All of the same issues that need to be addressed in a divorce, such as child custody, child and spousal support, and property and debt division, all need to be addressed in a legal separation as well.
The legal process for obtaining a separate maintenance judgment is identical to that of a divorce judgment. For example, in both types of actions, one party must file a complaint and there is a requirement to divide assets and debt, to determine child support and spousal support, and also to address how assets are purchased and debt is acquired in the future.
At the end of a separate maintenance action, a judgment of separate maintenance is entered with the court and the couple is officially legally separated. This means that all property and debt has been divided, uniform child support and spousal support orders may be entered but the parties are still legally married.
A common misunderstanding is that there is a mandatory waiting period (60 days for couples with no minor children and 180 days for couples with minor children) that applies to separate maintenance actions. The relevant statute, MCL 552.9(f) does not state that these requirements apply to separate maintenance actions — they only apply to actions for divorce. Conceivably, one could be legally separated sooner than one could be divorced.
We understand that both divorce and legal separation can be an emotionally troubling time for you and your children. When you hire our firm, we will do everything in our power to help you through this process in the most stress-free manner possible without sacrificing any of your rights. We will thoroughly explain your legal options and make sure you have all of the information you need to make the best decision for your situation.
Schedule An Initial Consultation With Our Michigan Legal Separation Or “Separate Maintenance” Attorney
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