Legal Separation in Florida is not a legal option. Florida is among eight other states in the US that does not permit legal separation. While a couple can live separately while staying married, it is not officially recognized as legal separation by the state laws. However, it is important the you have a legal separation agreement worked out, so the financial, custody and property rights of the husband and wife are clearly defined. Couples seeking a legal separation can consult a lawyer to file the roles and responsibilities of both the parties in the separation document. A lawyer can protect the interests and rights of the party he/she represents while drawing the separation legal agreement.
Why do couples choose legal separation to divorce?
Many couples choose separation over divorce until they reap the benefits of pension or social security, or because it lets them file their tax jointly. Few others don’t file for divorce when one party furnishes health insurance for the other. Separation also gives some couples a chance to spend some time apart during which they can seek marriage counseling to solve their differences. Religious obligations may be another reason why couples choose separation over divorce.
Legals separation alternatives in Florida
Since Florida does not recognize legal separation, couples can work out other binding agreements that helps in formalizing the separation, as follows:
- Postnupital agreement-An agreement that formalizes the terms under debts, alimony, properties, and others, in case the separation results in a divorce sometime in the future.
- Separation agreement-This agreement translates to the same as what would account as a legal separation in a different state. Only, the court does not resolve any disputes between the two parties or approve the legal agreement.
- Support petition- This petition is aimed at allowing one of the spouses’ to receive alimony and child support, provided it is applicable, if the other spouse has evacuated from the common marital residence and not filed for a divorce. It is referred to as “Petition for Support Disconnected with Dissolution of Marriage”.
It helps if both parties agree upon terms on a common ground, avoiding conflicts in the process.
The legally binding agreement must be consented by both parties. Couples that have children, can file a separate court motion that defines the aspects such as child support and primary residence of the children. Legal courts in Florida then determine visitation and custody rights of both the parties at the time of separation. This is decided based on a number of factors such as the age and number of children, the working hours of each parent, special needs of the children, and others. All in all, make sure your children receive all the and support that they need during the turbulent phase, as you don’t want them to get caught in the middle of a custody battle. In case you seek a divorce in the future, the agreement under custody is re-evaluated to arrive at a mediated settlement.
If you have any questions about legal separation in Florida or would like to speak to us about your options, please contact us at (813) 518-7411. 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.