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Spousal Support in Michigan

Separate Maintenance vs. Divorce: The Pros and Cons of Each

When seeking an end to your marriage, divorce is not the only option. There are alternatives to divorce, including separate maintenance.

It can be challenging to determine which option is best for you, as they both have pros and cons. A divorce lawyer at The Gucciardo Law Firm, PLLC, can review the details of your circumstances and help you decide how best to proceed.

Separate Maintenance

Separate maintenance is Michigan’s version of legal separation.

When you and your spouse go through separate maintenance, you’re dealing with the same matters as divorce, including property division, alimony, and child custody. However, the main difference between spousal maintenance and divorce is that after your spousal maintenance case has concluded, you remain married to your spouse.

Many couples choose to go through separate maintenance rather than divorce for various reasons, including religious reasons or possible reconciliation.

Separate maintenance has certain benefits, including:

  • Allowing couples to take time apart without legally ending their marriage
  • Letting couples stay legally married to respect their religion
  • Saving money while still tackling important matters related to separation
  • Allowing one spouse to remain under the other spouse’s insurance

But like anything, separate maintenance also has some drawbacks:

  • If either spouse wishes to remarry, they’ll need to go through a divorce
  • If spouses later want a divorce, it can end up costing more money

While separate maintenance works for many couples, it’s not for everyone. Whether it’s right for you depends on your specific situation and desired outcome. It’s best to discuss details with a divorce attorney.


Divorce legally and formally ends a marriage. Similar to separate maintenance, divorce proceedings also involve property and debt distribution, child custody, and support.

The benefits of divorce, as opposed to legal separation, include:

  • Having the option to remarry if you desire
  • Saving time and money in the long run
  • Making a beneficial decision for your future and your children’s lives

The cons of divorce include the following:

  • It may be frowned upon by certain religions and cultures
  • The process can take longer than legal separation
  • It is permanent — once a divorce is finalized, there’s no going back

While divorce is more final than legal separation, it may be the best option for certain couples. In many cases, there comes a time when a formal ending of a marriage can benefit each spouse and their children.

Discuss Your Options with a Michigan Divorce Lawyer

When both separate maintenance and divorce are on the table, it can be difficult to decide which one may be best for you and your family. While both have their pros and cons, you may likely benefit from one more than the other.

When in doubt, speak to a divorce attorney. A lawyer can get to know you and your circumstances to help you decide how to proceed.

The Gucciardo Law Firm has over 20 years of experience helping Michigan clients with their family law matters. We understand the difficulties you face when ending your marriage, and we’re here to help give you peace of mind while protecting your best interests. Count on us to work diligently to get you the best possible outcome.

Contact us to schedule a consultation with a Michigan divorce lawyer.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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