Ask A Divorce Lawyer: What does a Legal Separation say about various responsibilities?


How long does it take to get a legal separation if both parties want it done swiftly? If a couple is separated but one of the persons has no where to go, is it OK if that person stays in the house along with the other spouse without getting in trouble? Also, if a couple is separated, is the other party responsible for medical bills that the other incurs?





Although I am licensed to practice law in Michigan, I strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney formally because I can only give you general information about paternity cases in Michigan. You should not rely upon this information as creating an attorney-client relationship.

In general, and based on the limited information you have provided me, to file for a divorce or legal separation in Michigan, one of the parties must have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days and in the county where the case will be filed for at least 10 days before filing. There is a filing fee for this action. The filing fee is more if there are children of the marriage who are under the age of 18. If there are no children under the age of 18, there is a 30 day waiting period before the court may issue its final order. In cases with minor children, there is a 6 month waiting period. However, if there is unusual hardship or compelling necessity, the court may waive the 6 month waiting period. This waiver can only be obtained by petitioning the court, and whether to waive the period is in the court’s discretion.

Each party’s rights to access the marital home (e.g., whether it is “OK” to stay in the home), to reimbursement for medical expenses, and so forth, should be specified in the final order. The court can also issue temporary orders while the waiting period is pending to address those issues. An attorney in your area can ensure that your rights are properly advocated and delineated in such orders.


Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.


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