Many couples choose to explore the option of a legal separation in cases where they want to live apart, yet remain married. Religious, financial, and other reasons motivate some couples to avoid divorce, and legal separation stands out as a viable alternative. Although Florida is one of only a few states which does not legislate or recognize legal separation, there are a range of alternative legal agreements which can accomplish many of the same objectives as a legal separation in Florida.
Why Choose Separation?
Many couples decide to separate rather than divorce for religious, personal, or financial reasons. For instance, remaining legally married while separated can be beneficial for tax purposes, healthcare coverage, or even just to give couples time and space to try resolving their problems.
Florida state law does not require a court order for a married couple to live apart in separate houses. Some couples, however, do wish to formalize their separation and seek court supervision as they manage their child responsibilities and various financial arrangements. The needs of most couples can be met through a combination of provisions allowed for by Florida state law.
Separation agreements in Florida in many ways mimic the aims of legal separations in other states. Many couples feel more comfortable and secure having their issues and terms of separation expressed in a legally binding agreement and addressed before the court. Separation agreements can help resolve and officiate matters pertaining to:
- child and marital support
- custody and visitation
- shared financial arrangements
- the distribution of shared property
Separation agreements are not mandated in any way by the court. Rather, each spouse must decide and agree to all terms. Once a separation agreement is signed by both parties, however, it becomes a legally binding contract.
Petition for Support Disconnected with Dissolution of Marriage
A Petition for support disconnected with the dissolution of marriage is essentially a petition for child support or alimony in cases of separation in lieu of divorce. This type of arrangement allows for the custodial spouse to receive support from their separated spouse. As with the other separation agreements, many separated spouses feel more secure having their support and alimony arrangements recognized by the court.
Some couple choose the route of separation simply because they are not ready for divorce. Postnuptial agreements arranged during the separation are one way for couples to prearrange the terms of a possible divorce in the future. Like prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements can specify how issues such as child support, alimony, assets, and debts will be managed in the event of a divorce.
If you have any questions about legal separation in Florida or if you would like to speak to us about your options, please contact North Tampa Law Group at (813) 518-7411 or complete a free online case evaluation. We represent clients during stressful and difficult times in their lives. We are empathetic, responsive, and push for a quick resolution. We look forward to helping you resolve your issue quickly, fairly, and in a way that will help you to return to the stable, predictable life that you deserve.