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We’ve Been Separated for a While. Do We Really Need to Divorce?

Most romantic relationships end. Many marriages end, as well. There is nothing strange about this common development in serious partnerships.

But not all types of spousal separation are the same. If you are informally separated from your spouse, you may wonder whether you really need to divorce.

In the following post, we will examine the differences between separations and divorce. If you are considering filing for a divorce, make sure to speak with a skilled legal professional to discuss your options.

Understanding Separation

Legal spousal separations are not the same as divorce. If you are informally separated from your spouse, should you pursue a divorce?

The answer to this question will be unique to each situation. Separation happens when both married spouses are living independently and leading separate lives.

There are several different types of separation. Temporary separation is a short period of independence in which spouses reevaluate the state of their marriage. Following this period, spouses may decide to reconcile or divorce.

In some cases, spouses want to end their romantic relationships without divorcing. Under Michigan state law, this is known as “separate maintenance.

Through this type of agreement, the courts decide on the following factors:

  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Property and debt division
  • Parenting time
  • Spousal support payments

In this way, separate maintenance is like divorce. However, at the end of this type of court case, the couple remains married. Some people choose this option for religious reasons.

Why Choose Divorce?

Divorce is not right for every separating couple. However, there are some legal advantages to a formal divorce.

Following the finalization of a divorce, the court issues a decree. This document details the rights and responsibilities of each divorcing party. Unlike an informal separation, divorce decrees ensure that each party’s needs are met and respected.

During a separation, your finances are still legally tied to your spouse’s. If financial circumstances change, you may be responsible for their lost income or increased needs.

Through a divorce, you will become legally independent. Your finances will no longer be tied to your former spouse’s. This can help you to avoid the negative impacts of their debts or drops in credit scores.

Remaining legally married can also affect what can happen to your assets in the event of your death. Unless you execute new wills, the division of property may be determined by estate planning laws.

Oftentimes, Michigan probate courts will transfer ownership of your property to your legal spouse if you die. Following a divorce, your ex-spouse will have no legal claim to your property unless you specify otherwise in your will.

Contact a Skilled Family Law Attorney

If you are separated and considering divorce, the qualified team at Gucciardo Family Law can help. Our family law attorneys have a thorough understanding of Michigan’s marriage and divorce statutes.

We will carefully examine the circumstances of your case and help you determine the best path forward. Our compassionate attorneys have helped numerous families through the process of divorce.

Contact our office today to arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your case. At Gucciardo Family Law, we will work hard to secure a positive outcome for you!

Too much information?

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

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