Sometimes, couples no longer want to live as a married couple, but they do not want to get an official divorce either. There are many reasons for this, but wanting to continue to file joint taxes is one of the most common. Filing taxes jointly holds many benefits for one or both parties. A person may get a lower tax rate, or the other party may receive more in deductions and credits.
Regardless of the reason a couple wants to file their taxes jointly, this is not allowed once a couple gets a divorce. After divorce, both parties must file separately unless they start the divorce process, but it is not final at the end of the year. Fortunately for couples that want to continue filing jointly on a long-term basis, there is another option. That is separate maintenance.
Separate maintenance is different from divorce. After a couple decides to get a separate maintenance, they can live separately and apart just as they would if they had gotten a divorce. However, they are still considered legally married.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. This means one spouse must only state that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship and that there is no chance the couple will reconcile. The same grounds hold true for separate maintenance, as well. These no-fault grounds are the only grounds a couple can claim when getting a divorce or separate maintenance and in fact, judges cannot consider any other reason for the separation.
Separate maintenance is a legal process in Michigan and so, couples need to resolve certain terms. These are also the same in divorce and they include property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. Couples can work together to create a separate maintenance on their own. This is often done with the help of a Grand Rapids family lawyer representing each side. The attorneys can negotiate for the best terms for each side and then draft the formal agreement.
In the event that the two sides cannot reach an agreement, they can enter into mediation to try and reach an agreement. During mediation, an objective third party mediator will try to foster communication and compromise between the two sides so they can come to an agreement.
If an agreement is reached, the mediator will submit it to the court to approve. A judge will approve the agreement if it is fair. If the agreement is not fair, or the couple cannot reach an agreement on their own, the judge will make the final decisions on all terms.
At Van Den Heuvel Law Offices, our Grand Rapids family lawyers can negotiate with your spouse to reach a separate maintenance agreement, or represent you if the matter has to go to court. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
Property division is one of the most contested issues in a divorce. Michigan law allows only marital property to be split in ...
If you were accused of violating a probation order, you will be given a court date to speak with the judge who ...
During a divorce, your retirement account likely isn't your immediate concern. Divorce involves many complex decisions, such as arranging child custody and ...