Legal Separation Isn’t Recognized in Florida
Many spouses might know their marriages are not working, though they might not want to rush to the courthouse seeking a divorce. Some couples think there might be the possibility of reconciliation, while others never want to get divorced for religious or other reasons. Such situations might lead spouses to live apart without legally ending their marriage. When you and your spouse live separately for a period of time, it is important to protect your rights to your marital property and assets, time with your children, and more.
All but six states in the U.S. recognize legal separation as a court order similar to divorce, but that does not end your marriage. Florida happens to be one of the six states that has no legal separation option in the law. However, this does not mean that separating spouses have no legal options to protect themselves.
Perhaps the most common way spouses can resolve relevant issues for their separation is by reaching and signing a separation agreement. This agreement is a legally binding contract, and it can address many different issues, such as:
- Which spouse has the right to certain property and assets they share
- Whether one spouse will provide financial support to the other
- How they will share time with their children, as well as decision-making rights and responsibilities
Sometimes, spouses have a clear idea of how their separation should go, and they are able to agree on the terms of their separation agreement. Other times, spouses might need the help of family law attorneys to negotiate their agreement, so it is fair for everyone involved.
Just because a Florida family court will not grant a legal separation does not mean the court will not issue orders regarding certain issues. For example, if spouses are not living together and cannot reach a separation agreement, you can petition the court to rule on issues such as:
Once the court rules on one or more issues, spouses must abide by the court order during the separation or face possible consequences. If you decide to live together again, the court order will no longer apply. If you decide to pursue a divorce, you might be able to use the terms of existing court orders as the basis for your divorce agreement or order. You should not allow your interests to go unprotected if you are separated but not yet ready to seek a divorce.
Contact a Brandon, Florida Divorce Lawyer for Assistance
The legal team at the office of Carman, Bevington & Finegan, P.A., helps clients in all different types of family situations. Whether you know you want a divorce already or you want to try a period of separation, our Brandon divorce attorneys can ensure your rights and interests are protected. If you would like to discuss your situation with a trusted family law professional, please contact us online or call 813-654-3444 to set up an appointment today.