Whether you or your spouse has decided to end your marriage, or you've reached the decision together, making the choice to separate or divorce is never easy. For many people in this situation, it is the first time they have had to deal with the court system. Between feelings of loss, and anxiety about the unfamiliar legal road ahead, it's no wonder that many people call separation and divorce the most stressful time of their lives.
At Lisa J. Peterson, P.L.L.C. in Ann Arbor, we work with family law clients going through divorce or separation to achieve a resolution with as little stress and anxiety as possible. We do this by putting our clients first: listening to them so we understand their goals and needs, answering their questions, and offering a variety of dispute resolution options. A common misconception is that the terms of a Michigan divorce are decided by a judge at a trial.
While some divorces are litigated and decided by a judge, the vast majority are resolved before trial. Settlement can be reached through negotiation between attorneys and parties, family law mediation, or other means. As an experienced litigator, trained mediator, and skilled negotiator, Lisa offers clients options, and the insight to choose the one that best meets their needs.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. That means that neither party needs to prove fault on the part of the other in order to be granted a divorce. Michigan divorces may encompass a number of issues, including child custody and support; parenting time (sometimes called visitation); property division, and spousal support (sometimes called alimony).
No minimum period of living separately or separation is required before a divorce can be granted. And what most people refer to as a “legal separation” is called an “action for separate maintenance” in Michigan. The process for obtaining a judgment of separate maintenance is nearly the same as that for a divorce. If a plaintiff files for separate maintenance, the defendant can counterclaim for divorce. In this situation the court will enter a judgment for divorce over an order for separate maintenance if the court finds that “there has been a breakdown in the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.”
Parties may choose to have an order for separate maintenance over divorce for religious reasons, to keep a spouse's health care or insurance benefits, because of immigration issues, or for other personal reasons.
Whether you are contemplating filing for divorce or separate maintenance, or have been served with a summons and complaint for divorce, Lisa J. Peterson, P.L.L.C. can help you.
With offices conveniently located in downtown Ann Arbor, Lisa J. Peterson, P.L.L.C. serves clients throughout Washtenaw County, including Saline, Ypsilanti, Milan, Dexter, Manchester, and Chelsea, as well as in Wayne, Oakland and other nearby Michigan counties. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation about your Michigan divorce or separate maintenance matter.