What is a legal separation?
A legal separation differs from a divorce in that the parties can make arrangements to live separately but still remain married. If a couple does not want to get a divorce due to religious reasons, the need to maintain healthcare coverage, or other reasons, they can look into the alternative of separation. If a couple becomes legally separated, arrangements can be made for child custody and child support to be paid, even though the couple is still technically married.
Can I get a legal separation in Florida?
Some states have laws providing for legal separation and some states don’t. Technically, you can’t get a legal separation in Florida. However, clever lawyers have found ways to get you most or all of the benefits of a separation in spite of the fact that Florida doesn’t have laws establishing the right to Legal Separation.
Remember, even though an official separation is not part of Florida law, you are free to move out of your home and ”separate” from you spouse at any time. You don’t need to file any papers with the court or officially notify your spouse to do so.
Why would I want a legal separation instead of a divorce?
Some of the reasons why you might want to get a separation instead of a divorce are:
(1) Your religion forbids divorce or otherwise penalizes you if you get a divorce
(2) You need to remain technically married to keep your health coverage
(3) You need to remain technically married for tax reasons
(4) You need to remain technically married for 10 years to gain benefits under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act
(5) You need to remain married to obtain an increase in Social Security Benefits, as these benefits increase after 10 years
(6) You and your spouse need some time to figure out if you want to get a divorce or not
If legal separation isn’t possible in Florida, how can I get the benefits of it without getting a divorce?
Your lawyer can work to get you child support and child custody arrangements even if you aren’t divorced. Child support is clearly provided for under Florida law even if the couple is not getting a divorce. Alimony, also known as spousal support is a much more difficult case, as courts are less likely to award alimony to couples who are not divorced.
Lawyers can use postnuptial agreements to help couples obtain the benefits of a separation even if Florida law doesn’t establish a right to legal separation. In these agreements, the parties can agree to how their separation will work and decide on payments of child support, child custody and even alimony, if an agreement can be reached. In this ways couples can achieve many of the benefits of legal separation without technically getting a divorce.
Legal Separation and Divorce Lawyers – Fort Myers, Florida
Our Fort Myers attorneys can help you to achieve the benefits of a legal separation even if Florida law doesn’t provide for legal separation.
We offer free consultations. GET THE HELP YOU NEED. CALL (239) 245-9911 NOW! This line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We are serving Fort Myers and surrounding cities and counties in Southwest, Florida such as Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, Lehigh Acres, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island and Charlotte and Hendry counties.