If you live in Florida and are considering legal separation, you may be surprised to find out that Florida is among the few states that do not offer a formal means of legal separation. Still, you can enact a separation in several ways. The most notable workaround for legal separation is called a separation agreement, in which you arrange for alimony or child support.
Why should I consider legal separation?
Legal separation has several benefits that are no longer available after divorce. Even if they do not plan on resuming their marriage a couple may remain separated for financial reasons. For example, a separated couple can remain "married" long enough to receive social security benefits (these take effect after 10 years). In addition, they can remain eligible for military, tax, and health insurance benefits. They can even arrange for child support or alimony during their time apart. Finally, a couple can remain separated if their marriage has collapsed but they are prohibited from divorce on account of their religious beliefs. These benefits are all available because the couple is still legally married under a separation agreement.
Cons of Legal Separation
There are, of course, negative consequences involved in legal separation. Because formal legal separation is not an option in the state of Florida, disputes concerning the terms of the agreement cannot be settled in court. This can result in difficulty concerning custody of your children and any forms of support. A legal separation also limits a couple in terms of remarriage. Because they have not been divorced, a separated couple cannot be remarried.
We at Richard A. Heller, P.A. understand the emotional stress and difficulty involved in undergoing a separation or divorce. With more than 45 years of combined experience in family law and a lead attorney rated BV Distinguished® by Martindale-Hubbell®, we are qualified to help those considering separation. If you are going through a difficult time in your marriage, you do not have to face it alone— our attorneys for legal separation cases are prepared to do what they can to ease the process, making your separation as smooth as possible.