Although there is no such thing as "legal separation" in Florida, there are ways in which a couple can establish a similar outcome through processes like legally separate maintenance and support unconnected with dissolution. For example, separate maintenance would allow for one spouse to collect alimony from the other while remaining legally married. While it is typically rare, this form of legal separation can serve as a practical solution for couples who wish to spend time apart while working on their marriage and/or deciding whether or not to eventually file for divorce. Since one spouse may not be able to afford the cost of living on their own, the court can set up temporary alimony for the dependent spouse. Additionally, this type of arrangement would allow for one spouse to remain on the other's health insurance—which is a significant benefit for some.
In other cases, a pseudo legal separation can be utilized when a couple is unable to meet Florida's residency requirements. According to current law, both parties must be residents of the state for at least six months before the couple can file for divorce. Since there are no limitations on when a couple can file for a legal separation, however, this process would allow the couple to establish alimony and/or child support and then convert the case into a divorce when the residency requirements are eventually met. Similarly, an action for support unconnected with dissolution would allow for a) the couple to maintain the possibility of reconciliation, b) one parent to ensure that their children are taken care of in the absence of the other parent and/or c) the couple to uphold religious prohibitions against divorce.
If you are interested in filing for a legal separation, the Jacksonville divorce lawyer at Charles E. Willmott, P.A. encourages you to explore your options under the advisement of our firm. Call today at (904) 849-5183 to learn more.