An Alternative To Divorce
Some married couples feel the need to be apart but are unready to initiate divorce proceedings. In many states, these couples have the opportunity to pursue a legal separation. However, as in the case of annulment, Florida marriage laws do not specifically outline provisions for this arrangement.
While legal separation is not an official option provided for under state statutes, such an arrangement is available in practice. Given the nature of the concerned laws, however, the process can be more complicated and ambiguous than legal separation agreements seen in other states.
For this reason, it's a good idea to consult an attorney if you would like to explore this alternative to divorce. Your lawyer can identify legal arrangements that may be best for your family situation.
Why Pursue A Legal Separation?
A divorce is not right for all families. There is a wide range of reasons why the dissolution of a marriage may not workable for you and a spouse. These may include:
- You want to give a marriage another chance. Taking time apart from a spouse provides the opportunity to assess what is best for you and your family.
- Religious reasons make divorce untenable. If your religious beliefs do not allow for divorce, you and a spouse may choose to live separate lives while officially remaining married.
- You wish to retain tax benefits associated with marriage. Financial reasons commonly cause spouses to remain married though they may consider a union over.
- The family is covered under a spouse's medical benefits. The loss of insurance benefits for a spouse may also make a divorce unappealing.
- You wish to keep intact Social Security and retirement benefits. Some couples stay legally married for a period of time so as to allow retirement benefits to kick in for a spouse.
These are only some of the explanations why separating may be a more appealing option for couples than divorce. Even though Florida's laws do not provide legal separation, a lawyer can set up an agreement much like those enforced in other states.
Find Legal Help To Explore Your Options
An attorney can help you pursue alternative marital arrangements that, in practice, resemble legal separation arrangements that are seen in many other states. For example, you and a spouse may enter into a legally binding agreement that sets forth alimony or child support payments without the dissolution of a marriage.
Couples looking to separate may also put together a postnuptial agreement. This document outlines the obligations and rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce or death. Also referred to as a separation agreement, the terms of the document may serve to outline a marital arrangement until a divorce is filed.