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What is the process of Separate Maintenance?


The process of separate maintenance starts when either one of the spouses filed a request for separate maintenance in court. The rules for separate maintenance are the same as their routes for getting a divorce in Michigan. Hence the individual who is filing for separate maintenance in court would need to prove that he or she is indeed a resident of the state of Michigan.

Residency Requirement

The residency requirement in the state of Michigan is a necessary legal requirement for any legal action to be addressed by the court. The residency requirement should be met only by the spouse who is filing. He or she must have lived in the state for a minimum of 180 days before filing and that the filing spouse should have lived in the county where they filed for at least 10 days. 

Legal Reasons Same As Divorce

The filing of separate maintenance must have at least the same reason for Separation much like in getting a divorce. However, since Michigan is a no-fault divorce state the parties don’t need to prove fault, the necessary thing is for the parties to prove that the marriage is over.

In legal words, the marital relationship must have broken down such that the objects of the matrimony have already been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be saved. This is just fancy legal talk to refer to the fact that the marriage is already too damaged for either spouse to repair it.

What if my spouse wants a divorce?

In the case of separate maintenance filing as in the case of a divorce, your spouse will also have the opportunity to respond to your requests and they can proceed to the proceeding of separate maintenance or request an even higher kind of separation which is a divorce. 

If either of the spouses would ask for a divorce the judge would have no choice but to cancel the request for separate maintenance and continue with the divorce process. 

Why is divorce given precedence over separate maintenance?

As we have stated in a previous article, some spouses get a kick out of requesting separate maintenance only to stop the other spouse from getting married. This is a normal reaction for the spouse who has been scorned by the other.

Imagine this scenario

If you filed for divorce because your husband cheated on you and your husband wants to marry the person that he cheated on you with would you allow them to be happy and get married or separate maintenance the option that is best for you? Most of the wives that have been our clients, often want to just get separate maintenance from their husband for them not to be able to marry their mistress. This is a last-ditch effort after trying to drag on the divorce proceedings.

Would we recommend that you do separate maintenance over divorce, just so you can stop your spouse from getting married?

Legally we are bound by our oath as lawyers to make sure that you fight for your rights. This is, however, limited to how you can apply the law. We would not recommend that you drag on the divorce proceedings or file for separate maintenance instead of a divorce just so you can stop your other spouse from getting remarried. We can clear things up for you, just send us a message.  

Does the mandatory waiting period still apply to separate maintenance?

The mandatory waiting period in divorce also applies to separate maintenance. Under Michigan law, every court is required to impose a waiting period before the judge can even act on the case. For those without any minor children, the waiting period is 30 days after the file but for those with minor children, the waiting period is up to 180 days.

The waiting period is also known as the cooling-off period where the spouses try to work together and decide on how they will handle life after the divorce or the separate maintenance agreement. 

What if we reconcile during the period of cooling off?

If the spouses would reconcile during the period of cooling off they can always ask for the dismissal of the request for separate maintenance or divorce. If the spouses reconcile then the State supports such reconciliation and would wish them nothing but the best. 

What if after reconciliation, we decide to continue the process of separate maintenance or divorce?

If after your consideration you decide that you still do not want to continue with your relationship you would have to file a new complaint in court and restart the process as well as a new cooling-off period.

Let Haque Legal Help You With Your Divorce

Now that you know some facts about dealing with divorce, it is time to get down to it. If you require a lawyer who can assist you with ensuring that you protect your rights to your property, it is important to know that you also have a team that can help you out with your specific needs. 

Our law firm is dedicated to making sure that those who are innocent will be protected by the law and the full extent of justice will be used.


The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

Let us help you out.

If you need a lawyer to help you during your divorce proceedings as well as your separate maintenance proceedings, call us immediately. If you have any problem with the law or are seeking justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call.

The post What is the process of Separate Maintenance? appeared first on Haque Legal.

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