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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Christian Legal Society Honors Attorney A. Jay Fowinkle at Annual National Conference 2022

Last month, Attorney A Jay Fowinkle received the Attorney Ministries Award at the 2022 Christian Legal Society National Conference in Newport Beach, California. This prestigious award is given to a recipient who embodies the mission of the Christian Legal Society through the demonstration of leadership and servanthood as well as a commitment to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all they say and do in the practice of law, as well as one who exemplifies Jesus Christ by providing encouragement, fellowship, and spiritual growth to attorneys and law students alike.

Such an award was bestowed to A. Jay Fowinkle by Former Christian Legal Society President, Charles M. Oellermann, Executive Director & CEO, David Nammo, Director of Attorney Ministries, Lakuita Bittle and Chair of Attorney Ministries Committee, Herbert Grey.

Attorney Fowinkle became a member of CLS in 2018 and has served as President of the Central Florida Chapter since 2019. In addition to Chapter meetings held on the third Wednesday of every other month, Board of Directors meet throughout the calendar year and come together virtually for prayer meetings via Zoom twice a month.

During Chapter meetings, guest speakers are invited to facilitate discussions related to intersections of faith and the legal industry. Recent topics include Roe v. Wade, Human Trafficking, etc.

All members are given several opportunities to volunteer and serve local communities. In an effort to support the unhoused, members frequently serve meals at Daily Bread in Orlando. Central Florida CLS members have also volunteered at Ronald McDonald House Charities, which are known for assisting families around the world and helping them access the medical care and resources they need.

Last spring, the CLS Chapter at Barry University, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law hosted a Judges Panel in Orlando, Florida which was sponsored by the Central Florida Chapter. Attorney A Jay Fowinkle served as the Moderator for this event where panelists spoke about their experiences in the industry as Christian legal professionals.

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The Marks Law Firm, P.A. returns to support Nathaniel’s Hope

In the spirit of summer, The Marks Law Firm has big plans to get outside and enjoy the weather with our community. This year is the third year that our team will be participating in the Nathaniel’s Hope- Make M’ Smile Celebration! Make M’ Smile is an annual community festival dedicated to celebrating VIP Kids, children with all types of special needs/disabilities, and their families.  VIP kids, families, volunteers, exhibitors and sponsors enjoy free entertainment, food, activities, and many vendors with giveaways.   

Every year the Marks Law Firm has been an active sponsor in the midst of all the fun and entertainment giving away free drinks and helping bring a smile to every child’s face!  The event will be held on Saturday, June 4th from 7:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.  We would love for you to come out to help support the VIP kids, their families, and this wonderful organization. 

If you are interested in participating please visit the Nathaniel’s Hope website at  One way to participate is by becoming a “buddy” to one of the VIP kids. As a “buddy” you will walk with a child and guide them during the “friendship stroll” around the park and throughout the event.  You can also sign up to be a volunteer or make a donation on the website.  Stay tuned to our website and Facebook to find out updates regarding this event and other ways that you can help.