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What Is In-Home Separation?


Many couples who decide to get divorced first enter into a trial separation, where they both live under the same roof, but start the process of disentangling their lives. Unfortunately, separation is not legally recognized in Florida, so it’s important for couples to take certain steps to legally separate their interests, particularly if they are sharing a home while waiting to divorce.

In-Home Separation 

There are a lot of reasons why a couple might choose to continue living together even when separated. Some, for instance, may wish to leave the door open to reconciliation, while others may simply have financial reasons for staying in the same home. Under Florida law, couples don’t have to establish that they have been separated for a certain amount of time in order to file for divorce, so living together while initiating a divorce won’t have repercussions when it comes to filing. Living together while separated can, however, raise complications, so it’s a good idea for couples in this situation to keep track of their expenses and try to keep them separate as much as possible, while also avoiding entanglements in each other’s personal lives.

Legal Separation Isn’t Recognized in Florida 

Unlike many states, Florida doesn’t recognize legal separation, which means that married couples can’t resolve issues related to alimony, property division, and child custody as part of a legal separation without first initiating a divorce. Fortunately, Florida couples can seek legal assistance with these issues without commencing a divorce, but not through a legal separation. Couples can, however, enter into legal agreements to formalize the terms of their impending separation.

Entering Into a Separation Agreement 

Although Florida doesn’t have a specific process for legal separation as many states do, married couples can enter into what are known as separation agreements that address important issues, like property division, spousal maintenance, child support, and time-sharing. To learn more about creating a separation agreement and the types of issues that you and your spouse can address in such a contract, feel free to reach out to our legal team today.

Filing a Petition for Support 

Those who don’t wish to create a separation agreement can instead opt for filing a petition for support, albeit one that isn’t connected to any divorce proceedings. These petitions, when granted, allow one party to obtain child support or alimony from the other spouse, even though they are not yet seeking a divorce. These kinds of petitions are usually filed when two parties are seeking a divorce or are living separately, but it is possible to petition the court for support when separated, but still living together.

Drafting a Postnuptial Agreement 

Another way to address certain issues without formalizing a separation is to draft a postnuptial agreement. These contracts are similar to prenuptial agreements in that they set out the terms of asset division and alimony, but are entered into after the marriage has already taken place. Postnuptial agreements, however, aren’t always the best option for couples who have already initiated the process of separation, so it’s a good idea to ask an attorney for advice before drafting one.

Set Up a Free Case Review Today 

An experienced Florida divorce lawyer can help you navigate your own in-home separation. Call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to get started.




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