Is There Something Called Legal Separation in Florida?

As a prospective Family Law Client, you may not be ready or want to file for Divorce, but you do want to receive Alimony or Child Support payments from your spouse. In these circumstances, you could enter into a Legal Separation agreement or file an Action for Support and Maintenance without Dissolution of Marriage. A common myth in Family Law is that Legal Separation does not exist in Florida. However, under Florida Statutes 61.09 and 61.10, support and maintenance are mentioned. In other words, you can be awarded Alimony or Child Support without filing for Dissolution of Marriage. According to Statute 61.10, your spouse can ask for Timesharing without filing for Divorce. Of course, every case is unique and so your case depends on your specific circumstances and the facts involved.

So, if you are living in the state of Florida, and are solely focused on support, Statue 61.09 doesn’t mention Timesharing, instead it focuses exclusively on getting Alimony and Child Support. A spouse who is interested in securing Timesharing with minor children may want to file under Statute 61.10.

Potential reasoning for someone to file an Action for Support and Maintenance unconnected with a Divorce could be their religious beliefs or faith or the hope of reconciliation. Many people of faith don’t believe in Divorce. Or perhaps they don’t want to be the spouse that files paperwork to end their Marriage. Legal Separation will allow a spouse in such circumstances the opportunity to receive Alimony and/or Child Support without filing for Divorce.

Couples who are not ready to file for Dissolution of Marriage but are interested in spending time apart from each other may also consider a Legal Separation. During this period, they can attempt to work on the Marriage and remain hopeful that time away from one another will improve their relationship. Seeing a Marriage Counselor together or individually during a Legal Separation may enhance communication skills in a Marriage. If you or your spouse are interested in connecting with a Therapist in Central Florida, our office can provide a trusted referral for you. Our Team at The Marks Law Firm, P.A. – Family Law & Divorce Attorneys understands the positive impact of Mental Health Professionals throughout the process.

For someone who needs time to heal after infidelity in the Marriage, he or she may want to explore a Legal Separation as the couple works toward a possible reconciliation. Terms that may appear in a Legal Separation agreement include Alimony, Child Support, Timesharing (as previously mentioned) and the Parenting Plan.

If you have questions regarding moving forward with a Legal Separation or would like to speak with one of our Orlando Family Law Attorneys about the process to legally separate, please call our office at (407) 872-3161.

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