Separate Maintenance: An Alternative To Divorce
Life can sometimes be complicated. The law offers legal remedies for more than just the black and white “marriage” and “divorce.” At Marrs & Terry, PLLC, we offer counsel and assistance for Michiganites in need of family law solutions. Contact us concerning any of the following:
- Separate maintenance agreements (similar in concept to a “legal separation”)
- Annulment, whether for technical legal reasons or for more personal reasons such as that the marriage was never consummated, one spouse is gay and the other didn’t know it beforehand, or in the event of a “Britney Spears first marriage” situation where one or both of the parties was drunk or otherwise unable to give full consent to the marriage
- Cohabitation agreements and dissolutions for heterosexual or same-sex domestic partners
What Is The Difference Between Separate Maintenance And Divorce?
A separate maintenance agreement in Michigan is similar to a divorce in all regards except the final divorce decree. In our experience, many couples who get divorced later regret it. A separate maintenance agreement can bring legal and financial stability to a marriage in trouble while personal issues are being sorted out. The same issues that are included in a divorce decree are found in a separate maintenance agreement: property division, spousal support and child support if there are minor children of the marriage.
You Can Choose To File Publicly Or Privately
A separate maintenance agreement can be kept private, just as a will or a power of attorney is private ― or it can be filed with a court. It can be used as the basis for a subsequent divorce, or if parties reconcile, it can be destroyed. Some couples may prefer to keep ownership of property separate indefinitely even if their interpersonal relationship continues.
Why Not A Divorce?
Reasons that some of our clients prefer a separate maintenance agreement include the following:
- Religious reasons
- Health insurance reasons (note: Insurance companies must be consulted to confirm coverage when there is a separate maintenance agreement in place)
- Avoidance of the stigma of divorce
- “Gray area” situations such as when couples hope to reconcile, or when a marriage will continue in some limited form socially speaking but not be dissolved legally
Contact Us To Learn More About Your Options
Contact the family law attorneys of Marrs & Terry, PLLC, to advise you on any legal matter pertaining directly or indirectly to marriage, divorce, separation, maintenance (alimony) or annulment, including the following:
- Probate Law
- Real Estate Law
- Deed Preparation and Recording
- Title Opinions
- Land Contract Preparation
- Collection Actions
Also see our bankruptcy and foreclosure site if you face overwhelming financial difficulties.