If you are opposed to getting a divorce, but you can no longer live together in your union for whatever reason, there is the option of a separate maintenance agreement in Michigan. The concept, in its simplest form, is this: You can get the divorce you need without being completely divorced from the benefits of marriage.
When you get a divorce, the only way to reestablish that union is to get remarried. With a separate maintenance agreement, however, the divorce takes place while the couple remains legally married.
This means that every matter that is dealt with in a typical divorce – property division, parenting time, child custody, spousal support, etc. – are all settled, but the couple is still considered married. The objects of matrimony are not destroyed.
A separate maintenance agreement is not final, for those who may wish to change their mind in the future. At any time, one spouse can file to get an official divorce. The separate maintenance agreement will still be valid and accurate.
Why would someone go through the divorce process and choose to remain married?
One of the most common reasons a couple files a separate maintenance agreement is to hang onto health insurance, particularly if one spouse is sick, unemployed, or retired. In an amicable divorce, and in lieu of any other type of quality health insurance, a couple may choose to file a separate maintenance agreement so they can live their separate lives but still allow the other person to take advantage of their benefits.
The separate maintenance agreement for insurance purposes often happens in divorces for older couples. If you go through a full divorce you cannot, under Michigan law, keep your ex-spouse on your health insurance.
Choosing a separate maintenance agreement to maintain healthcare does not come without speedbumps, however. Some insurance companies challenge these agreements and will not honor the insurance provisions if spouses are not living together.
Extremely religious couples may also choose to file a separate maintenance agreement. A couple may no longer wish to be together, but they don’t want their split to be labeled as a divorce in the eyes of their religion, place of worship, or community. Some religions may explicitly forbid divorce, so a separate maintenance agreement gives a couple every element of a divorce without the official title of “divorced.”
Separate maintenance agreements must be agreed to by both spouses. The judgment itself reads very much like a divorce judgment, particularly in the separate of finances. Taxes, for instance, are filed separately as single people or head of household with a designation of not married.
It is always possible to choose to convert a separate maintenance agreement into a Michigan divorce. This often occurs when a spouse finally becomes eligible for Medicare and is now supported in terms of healthcare. The separate maintenance agreement can often be left in place. However, some courts require a divorce case to be filed.
If you are interested in exploring a separate maintenance agreement in Michigan, work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can guide you through the process and help you determine the best choices for your split.
Every divorce is different, as is every separate maintenance agreement. Take advantage of the free initial consultation at Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC, divorce lawyers in Macomb County, to learn about your options and what’s ahead.
Most lawyers are in a general practice and do some of everything. One of our main focuses is on Family law and being expert at divorce, custody and support matters.
We are in court daily, working with the family court judges, their staff and clerks, the Friend of the Court office, the Bar Association and other attorneys working in this area. We pride ourselves on fighting hard for our clients while working well with everyone.
Our extensive experience and strong relationship with the courts and our peers leads many judges and attorneys to hire us to act as Mediators in other Family Law cases. Make no mistake; having a strong working relationship with the court can have a massive impact on your case. Unlike most attorneys, we have no fear of the court room and are in trial regularly against the best in the business. We see the judges every week and maintain strong ties with their staff.
Although every attorney can “handle” your case, Femminineo Attorneys cares about you and your family. We work extremely hard to keep this difficult process civil and to shelter your children from as much of the negative facets as possible.
Once your case is concluded, we will be there to help you with any post-judgment problems that may arise.
Everyone’s financial situation is different and we work with our clients to formulate a fee arrangement that works within your means.
We have handled every possible situation involving domestic law. We will do everything possible to wrap up your case in a timely manner, avoiding delays that cause unnecessary legal fees.
When your case cannot be easily solved, we will fight hard and use all of our resources to win. Unlike most attorneys, we have no fear of the court room and we regularly win cases against the best in the business at trial.
Unlike many attorneys who have a part-time typist and work 30 hours a week, we have an expert staff available all day long to assist you and provide immediate service.
At Femminineo Attorneys, your case will be handled by an experienced family law attorney. Each of our attorneys in our family law division has many years of experience in handling family law matters.
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The information presented within this website is for general information purposes and is NOT and should not be considered as being “legal advice”. You should not act on any information presented herein without the verifying same with your attorney.