Legal Separation Under Florida Law
For a variety of reasons, partners in a failing marriage often wish to have something in writing specifying that they are legally separated. It is often necessary to have something laid out in writing that covers issues such as financial obligations concerning child support or alimony and division of real and personal property. While Florida law, unlike some states, does not recognize legal separation, there are several options available to address the important issues couples face during the break up of a marriage. Having your lawyer draft a separation agreement or a petition for support can make this uncertain time a little easier and provide the protection and security you deserve.
Though it is not filed with the court, a separation agreement is a legally binding contract. Entered into willingly by both parties, a separation agreement can help to establish and clarify the terms of the separation. It may address important issues such as child support and custody, alimony, division of marital assets and property, as well as outline provisions such as providing for health or life insurance coverage, or splitting costs of medical care or treatment.
Far from being simply an arbitrary agreement by both parties, a separation agreement properly drafted by your lawyer may utilize such tools as the Florida Department of Revenue child support guidelines and state legal guidelines for the equitable division of property and assets.
Petition for Support
For some couples who have separated, the terms of the separation can’t be mutually agreed upon, or the non-custodial parent may completely refuse to pay child support or alimony. In a case such as this, it may be necessary – and more prudent – to have something actually filed with the court. Under these circumstances, an experienced Florida family court lawyer can draft and file a Petition for Support. Under Florida State Statute 61.09, a Petition for Support Disconnected with the Dissolution of Marriage gives the court the authority in deciding the contested issues regarding payment of support and visitation, while leaving the actual marriage intact. Somewhat similar to a legal separation in other states, a Petition for Support is filed through the family court. It is then served on the opposing party, and eventually a hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, a judge can then decide upon and order the amounts of child support or alimony to be paid, as well as establish a parenting plan to help determine issues relating to full or joint custody and visitation.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Family Law Lawyer
If you are going through a separation, or contemplating a divorce, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law lawyer. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, we have experience in handling sensitive matters relating to divorce, alimony and support, in Ft. Pierce and throughout St. Lucie County. We will guide you through the legal process, and help you get the legal protection you need to ensure you and your children are provided for.