Marriage Dissolution Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Even though almost half of all marriages end in divorce, not every couple who are having relationship problems are ready to file for divorce. Most states offer a less drastic solution, known as legal separation, which closely mimics divorce in many areas. Other states, like Florida, do not offer legal separation as an option, however, your family law attorney can help you find other Florida statutes that can address the same issues as divorce without actually filing for divorce.
It can be extremely beneficial to speak to experienced marriage dissolution attorneys from Lauriston Law Firm if you find yourself in this unique situation. We can help you find the solutions that are right for you and your family, making sure you are protected whether you eventually decide to divorce or not.
Does Legal Separation Exist in the State of Florida?
There are only six states that do not provide for legal separation (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas). Other states, like North Carolina, require a one-year separation prior to allowing a couple to file for divorce. Other states, like Delaware, Illinois, Vermont, and Virginia, require six-month waiting periods before a couple can receive a divorce decree, and Maryland and Nevada require a one-year waiting period before a couple can file for divorce.
Why Would a Couple Choose Separation Over Divorce?
There are many different reasons a couple might choose to separate rather than divorce. For some, their religious beliefs might keep them from choosing divorce, yet if they are unable to live together, separation would seem to be the only option. For others, keeping health insurance under a spouse’s employment could be a reason to avoid divorce, at least for a time. Having health insurance is a major issue in today’s world, so a couple might decide to separate until the other spouse could obtain health insurance of his or her own.
Federal tax benefits could be another valid reason a couple might choose to separate rather than divorce. Finally, a couple could separate because they are not certain they want to divorce and are hoping for a reconciliation. Whatever your personal reasons for a separation from your spouse, the Lauriston Law Firm marriage dissolution attorneys can help you make choices that will not have an adverse impact on you down the road.
Can You Address Child Custody While Living Apart from Your Spouse?
Since Florida does not offer legal separation, if you have children, it is important that you consider how a separation could eventually affect custody decisions should you decide to file for divorce. No matter what you and your spouse do or do not do, the Court’s primary goal is whether the outcome of a custody agreement is in the best interests of the child. Perhaps you and your spouse have a written custody agreement covering the time you are separated.
While this agreement is not legally binding, the Court may use that agreement to determine whether the current arrangement should continue. If, however, you left the marital home, leaving the children with the other parent in the marital home, and you provided no support for the children during that time, the Court may take this into consideration when determining custody issues during the divorce.
Can You File for Child Support and/or Spousal Support While Living Apart?
Your marriage dissolution attorneys can file a formal petition on your behalf for support unconnected with dissolution. Such a petition would allow you to receive child support and/or spousal support from your spouse, while not filing for divorce. Such a petition would address support issues, but not child custody.
You are allowed to draft a postnuptial agreement at any time following your marriage. If the document fully adheres to the laws regarding postnuptial agreements, the terms will be enforced by the court.
How are Marital Assets Handled During a Separation?
Since there is no legal mechanism for separation in the state of Florida, it might not be in your best interests to divide assets and debts while you are separated from your spouse. Many people do not have a thorough understanding of marital and separate property. You could inadvertently give away a share in something your spouse has no legal right to. Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally during a divorce.
How Does Living Apart Change into a Broward County Divorce?
If you have had the benefit of advice and guidance from marriage dissolution attorneys from Lauriston Law Firm during your Broward County separation, the decision to divorce will not be such a major transition. Any agreements—whether between the parties or filed under another Florida statute, can be factored into your divorce petition. The marriage dissolution attorneys at Lauriston Law Firm will always have your best interests at heart and will always fight for your rights and your future. Should you decide to file for divorce, we will take the necessary legal steps that ensure the best outcome possible.
How Can the Marriage Dissolution Attorneys from Lauriston Law Firm Help?
Choosing to separate for a time rather than filing for divorce is a very personal decision. At Lauriston Law Firm, we will support such a decision, making sure all the legalities are taken care of so you are protected whether you ultimately decide to divorce or not. We are fierce advocates for our clients while valuing transparency, honesty, and trust. We are not your “typical” family law attorneys because we are so highly client-focused. We truly care about protecting your rights, and we truly care about how the decisions on today’s issues will affect your future. Contact Lauriston Law Firm today!