Anaphase, mitotic exit, and cytokinesis proceed in rapid succession, and while mitotic exit is a requirement for cytokinesis in yeast, it may not be a direct requirement for furrow initiation in animal cells. In this report, we physically manipulated the proximity of the mitotic apparatus (MA) to the cell cortex in combination with microinjection of effectors of the spindle checkpoint and CDK1 activity to determine how the initiation of cytokinesis is coupled to the onset of anaphase and mitotic exit. Whereas precocious contact between the MA and the cell surface advanced the onset of cytokinesis into early anaphase A, furrowing could not be advanced prior to the metaphase-anaphase transition. Additionally, while cells arrested in anaphase could be induced to initiate cleavage furrows, cells arrested in metaphase could not. Finally, activation of the mitotic checkpoint in one spindle of a binucleate cell failed to arrest cytokinesis induced by the control spindle but did inhibit the formation of furrows between the arrested MA and the control, nonarrested MA. Our experiments suggest that the competence of the mitotic apparatus to initiate cytokinesis is not dependent on cyclin degradation but does require anaphase-promoting complex (APC) activity and, thus, inactivation of the mitotic checkpoint.