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How do I file for legal separation in Michigan without involving a lawyer? My husband and I are in agreement to the terms.

Flint, MI |

My husband and I have decided that we can no longer live under the same roof and want to part ways. We do not, however, want to divorce for religious reasons. I have been researching information about a legal separation and have found out that it is known as "Separate Maintenance" here in Michigan.

Is there a way we can do this on our own without involving a lawyer? Is there someplace we can get forms, and where do we file that paperwork? We live in Genesee County and I am curious about the process involved.

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Attorney answers 3


Hi, There is no legal separation. The type of action, as you said, is to file for separate maintenance. You do not have to have a lawyer. Check to see if there are forms available through the Genesee County Family Court in downtown Flint. If not, there may be forms on the internet. You can always talk to an attorney for advice. You can definitely file a separate maintenance action on your own without an attorney. Good luck to you.

Henry Gornbein


There is no such animal in the state of Michigan. You are either married or you're divorced. If you separate, you are still married, just living apart. Whichever living/maintenance arrangement you agree upon will not involve court supervision.


However, a suit for separate maintenance results in a judgment that is essentially identical to a divorce judgment. People who get a separate maintenance judgment frequently divorce at a later date and the separate maintenance judgment is the template for the divorce judgment.

So, you may want to at least consult with a lawyer to be sure that all assets (including things like pensions and retirement savings) have been identified, that all debts have been identified and that all other issues, like paying debts, the proper amount of child support, custody and so forth are on your mind.

Finally, you may want to contact Lakeshore Legal Aid, 21885 Dunham Road Suite 4 Clinton Twp., MI 48036 (888) 783-8190 for assistance, or you may want to visit the Oakland County Bar Library at the courthouse at 1200 N. Telegraph Rd., Pontiac, MI. It has at least one book on the subject in its collection.

I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.

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