Legal separation, which occurs when participants in a marriage decide to stop living together, is another, less permanent option for those considering time apart from a marriage. While separation can progress into divorce, it is not uncommon for spouses involved in a marital separation to achieve reconciliation after spending time apart. Some couples remain legally separated on a more permanent basis. Legal separation in Florida is not officially recognized by the state government, though courts may still be involved regarding certain issues during the separation process. Nonetheless, there are still legal options pursuable for those who feel it might time to step away from a relationship to gain some perspective.

Marital Separation

Separation is often one of the first steps taken by couples experiencing a rocky marriage. It allows couples to experience a different perspective on their relationship or simply acts as another step in the divorce process. It offers many of the advantages that a divorce offers without the permanence or extensive hassle involved in a divorce case. In 2010, just over 2 percent of the population was said to be separated, which is significantly less than the 9 percent of the population who claimed to be divorced and even more so than the 30 percent of people aged 16 and over who had never been married. Perhaps this could be attributed to the transitory nature of marital separation, as separation often leads to either divorce or reconciliation and continuation of the relationship. With that said, some couples may choose to stay legally separated on a more permanent basis rather than pursue divorce as a final option.

Benefits of Legal Separation

In certain cases, the couple involved in a potential separation case may actually wish to divorce instead but cannot for a variety of reasons. Religious views or financial benefits such as health or life insurance made available only to a married couple could eliminate divorce as an option for many couples. In this case, legal separation could be a better option than remaining part of a problematic marriage. One or both involved spouses may request intervention from the court if they intend to live apart from each other. The court can mediate the proceedings in order to divide property and debt, child custody and visitation rights, and/or determine the amount of any child support payments. While court involvement is not necessary for legal separation in Florida, it is often recommended for couples seeking separation.

Beyond Separation

For many, legal separation is but a path to repairing a marriage or finally moving on. For many, it is recommended to pursue separation as a trial to determine if a marriage is salvageable. A trial period of six months is considered an ideal amount of time for a temporary separation – short enough to seem merely temporary but long enough to gain a fresh perspective on the marriage and life in general. Though there is no officially recognized form of legal separation in Florida, the state does offer what is referred to as “limited divorce,” which is very similar to the concept of legal separation in other states. While a separation can be completed without court involvement, it is recommended only for simplest of separation cases. The services provided by a family law attorney will assure that the rights and wishes of both parties involved in a divorce are equally acknowledged and considered.

If you have any questions about child support enforcement Tampa 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.