Legal Separation in Florida
In most states, when a couple wants to end a marriage, they have three options, namely: divorce, annulment, and separation. Unfortunately, Florida law doesn’t actually recognize legal separation, which can prove troublesome for couples who don’t qualify for annulment and don’t want to get divorced for religious, financial, or personal reasons. There are, however, things that a couple can do to obtain the same legal protections as those offered by separation. To learn more about separation and whether it’s right for you and your family, please contact a dedicated legal separation attorney for advice.
Filing for a Limited Divorce
Although Florida couples cannot file for legal separation, they can attempt to obtain a limited divorce. These types of divorces, unlike absolute divorces, don’t actually end a marriage. Instead, they act as a legal acknowledgment that two parties, although married, are voluntarily living apart. As long as the parties agree to voluntarily separate and request assistance from the court, a judge will step in and help determine child custody and visitation schedule issues. Like a standard divorce, each party will be required to make full financial disclosures to the other.
Filing a Petition for Support Unconnected with Dissolution
A couple that wishes to separate, but not divorce also has the option of filing a petition for support unconnected with dissolution. These petitions offer couples a way to request child support, spousal maintenance, or assistance with drafting a parenting plan without actually having to dissolve a marriage.
Creating a Postnuptial Agreement
One of the best ways to obtain legal protection through separation from a spouse is to draft a postnuptial agreement. These agreements, while they can and do cover the parties’ rights and obligations in the event of death or divorce, also apply during the course of a marriage. This means that the parties can set out specific rules and guidelines that each must follow in the event of separation without having to legally dissolve the marriage. If, for example, a couple decided to separate and one moved out of the family home, a postnuptial agreement could dictate how parenting time would be shared, whether alimony would be paid, and who would owe child support.
Drafting a separation agreement can also provide the protections of a legal separation without requiring court intervention. Instead, these agreements require two spouses to enter into a legally binding contract on their own. Although a court isn’t required to approve the agreement or resolve disputes, the parties will be required to adhere to its terms, as they would with any other legally binding contract.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Legal Separation Attorney
Although Florida doesn’t technically recognize legal separation, there are other options for couples who don’t want to get divorced, but who no longer want to live together. To learn more about these options and the legal protections that they could potentially offer you and your family, please call dedicated legal separation lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 or send our legal team an online message.