Marital Separation in Florida
Most married couples want to give their marriage their best to see whether they can work things out before calling it quits. It could be you have kids and would not want them to suffer as a result of an impending divorce, or you want to see whether the marriage can be salvaged. While most states recognize marital separation, Florida does not, but there are ways to protect those who would like such an arrangement.
A legal separation follows the formal proceedings of a divorce, including an entry for spousal and child support. The parties seeking separation will be required to fill some marital separation agreements that the courts will sign off. In the end, the only difference between legal separation and divorce is the couple remaining legally married, even though living separate lives.
So, how do you go about separation from your spouse even though it is not a legal provision in Florida? You can file for child and spousal support even when you reach a marital agreement to separate without the court’s signature.
We address some of the questions on the topic below, but we will keep referring to it as ‘legal separation’ even though it is not recognized in Florida.
Will I get child support and alimony if we separate?
The law always supports children seeing as there are many of them born out of wedlock. It will sign award child support to the spouse caring for the children. If a child is born out of wedlock, paternity may have to be proven for the court to sign off on child support.
Alimony is not as easy to sign off as child support, especially where spouses are in disagreement. The court allows separated spouses who are not divorced to seek alimony, but mostly it is unlikely to be awarded, unlike child support.
Are Postnuptial Agreements Substitute for Legal Separation?
A postnup agreement is a legal document addressing the division of assets upon a future divorce, and it reduces friction between couples if the marriage ends sometime in the future. Florida Statute does not provide for a way to separate assets from debts in the event of a separation, but they come into play in case of a divorce.
For a postnuptial agreement to be legally recognized in Florida, it has to be in writing, signed by both parties, and have full disclosure of assets between you and your partner.
A postnup agreement can help in the event of a separation. Since you and your spouse can enter into one at any time of your marriage, you can draft a thoroughly comprehensive marital separation agreement detailing everything including spousal and child support, then follow legal proceedings to make it binding. Upon separation, you will be entitled to everything that the agreement entailed.
You want to ensure that the forms are signed by both you and your spouse and will only file them when our spouse fails to comply with stipulated terms.
Child Custody Terms
Because legal separation is not provided for in Florida, the court can always revisit its custody decision. You may have custody of the children for a while, but the status is not permanent.
Even though Florida doesn’t recognize marital separation, you can petition the court to award you child support and spousal support in some cases. You have to prove that your partner can but has failed to support their child/children or yourself. While child support petitions are readily granted, spousal support may be an uphill battle as long as you are still legally married to each other.
Postnuptial agreements are also handy and can effect legal separation, but child custody decisions are not set in stone.
Whether you live in Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Tallahassee, Port St. Lucie, Cape Coral, Fort Lauderdale or any other city of Florida, you can use our legal forms easily.