Legal separation

In Michigan, in order to obtain a legal separation, a client must file a complaint for separate maintenance. In separate maintenance cases, the parties typically resolve the same issues as in a divorce action. (See Divorce). However, unlike divorce, some issues can be reserved and resolved at a later date in the event of divorce. Upon completion of the action a judgment of separate maintenance is entered with the court.

Post-judgment of divorce matters

Following entry of a judgment, clients may need assistance to enforce the provisions contained in the judgment. In addition, all issues pertaining to the minor children, including custody, parenting and child support issues are modifiable until minor children graduate from high school (so long as graduation from high school occurs by age 19½ ). To make a change, a party must prove that a change of circumstance has occurred and that the change is in the minor child’s best interest.

Removal of domicile matters

Absent consent from the other parent, a party wishing to move the residence of a minor child more than 100 miles from his or her current residence must obtain court approval on a showing that the move will improve the minor child’s life.

Stepparent adoption

A stepparent adoption occurs when the rights of a biological parent are terminated and the other biological parent’s spouse adopts the child.


When a child is born to parties not married to each other, paternity is established when the biological father acknowledges that the child is his by signing an affidavit of parentage at the hospital or through a court proceeding to establish paternity. In a court proceeding, DNA testing/ blood tests will be conducted to determine the paternity of the child.