Monday, March 18, 2019



FYI “Married persons may request separate maintenance because the parties have a religious objection to divorce, or want to stay married for other reasons.”Source Michigan Family Law Benchbook, Ch 2 , Icle 2nd ED 2006

“ Separate maintenance may allow both parties to have continued health care coverage, but some employers and heath insurance providers treat an action for separate maintenance as a triggering event disqualifying a nonemployee spouse from continued health insurance coverage. This is not uniformly applied by either employers or health insurance providers.”

Presented here by Terry Bankert Flint Divorce attorney (810)-235-1970,

“An action for separate maintenance is filed in the same manner and on the same grounds as a divorce. MCL 552.7. Either the plaintiff or the defendant must have resided in the state for at least 180 days and in the county of filing for at least 10 days immediately preceding the filing of the complaint. MCL 552.7(1), .9(1). Both of these residency requirements are jurisdictional and must be met on the date of filing. If the requirements are not met, the action may be dismissed or the judgment set aside. Lewis v Lewis, 153 Mich App 164, 395 NW2d 44 (1986) (circuit court lacks jurisdiction in separate maintenance action if neither party met residency requirement before filing). See chapter 1 for a complete discussion of the procedural requirements for a divorce.”

“When the matter is concluded, the parties are still technically married, but the marital property may be divided, MCL 552.19, and the court may order support for a spouse who requires it, MCL 552.23(1).”

“A separate maintenance action will result in a divorce judgment if the defendant files a counterclaim for divorce and the statutory grounds are established. MCL 552.7(4)(b).”

“ If a party wishes to divorce after a final judgment has been issued in a separate maintenance action, the party should file an entirely new cause of action. Although many issues will already have been decided and are enforceable under the judgment, any remaining issues like dissolution of the marriage should occur under the new action.”

“In Kresnak v Kresnak, 190 Mich App 643, 476 NW2d 650 (1991), even though the husband died before the entry of the judgment, a property settlement agreement in a separate maintenance action was enforced where the parties had placed it on the record and it had been generally approved by the court. The general rule that the divorce court lacks jurisdiction to render a divorce after the death of one of the parties did not apply. The issue was not the severing of the relationship, but the enforcement of a contractually binding agreement. Id. at 649–650.”

MCL 700.2801(1) of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code excludes an individual from surviving spouse status when that individual is divorced from the decedent or the marriage has been annulled. A decree of separation does not terminate the status of husband and wife and is not a divorce for purposes of MCL 700.2801(1). However, MCL 700.2801(2)(c) provides that a surviving spouse does not include “[a]n individual who was a party to a valid proceeding concluded by an order purporting to terminate all marital property rights.” Although a judgment of separate maintenance does not terminate the status of husband and wife, it is a court proceeding “purporting to terminate all marital property rights.” But see §2.4(discussing same-sex marriage after Obergefell v Hodges, 576 US ___, 135 S Ct 2584 (2015)).”

“Unless it provides to the contrary, a waiver of “all rights” in the property or estate of a spouse or a complete property settlement entered into after the marriage

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