Almost a week after the singer filed legal documents to end their partnership, Michaels also went to court to file her own papers.
But while Etheridge, 49, requested joint custody of the couple's 3-year-old twins, Michaels, 35, is seeking full legal and physical custody, with visitation for Etheridge, documents filed in L.A. County Superior Court show. Michaels gave birth to son Miller and daughter Johnnie in 2006. She is also asking the court to grant her spousal support.
In her paperwork, Michaels filed for a dissolution of marriage rather than a dissolution of domestic partnership. At the time of their union, they did not qualify to legally marry. However, her attorney says the filing was a deliberate choice.
"Tammy filed a dissolution of marriage, because in her eyes this was a marriage. Both she and Melissa gave it the dignity of a marriage – they had a marital ceremony back in 2001," attorney Steve Knowles tells PEOPLE. "If the court system says there was no such thing as a marriage and tells us we have to amend it to a domestic partnership, so be it. It's a symbolic act on Tammy's part, and frankly she thought it would be better for the children if they were recognized as children of a married couple. ... It was not at all Tammy's decision to go down the route to dissolve their marriage."
Both Etheridge and Michaels cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split.
Michaels expressed her shock over Etheridge's filing, writing on her blog Saturday that she felt blindsided.