legal agreementThis is the next post in my series on the issue of legal separation in Melbourne and other parts of Florida. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and it also stressed the need to speak with an attorney if you wish to be apart from your spouse without filing for divorce. There are legitimate reasons for pursuing such an arrangement and I will discuss these reasons in a later article. In this article I will discuss the fact that Florida does not recognize the concept of “legal separation” but that there are still options for those who wish to pursue such a course. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne lawyer.

Many states recognize the concepts of “legal separation” or “separate maintenance.” These are arrangements in which the Family Court signs an order that removes most of the legal ramifications of marriage while leaving the parties legally married. Such arrangements will divide marital property, set spousal support, set child custody, and order child support. Furthermore, any wages earned or property acquired by a party, after the order is issued, will be considered “separate” and not of the marriage. This concept of separate finances will also apply to any debts. This type of arrangement allows parties to go their separate ways and not be concerned about financial decisions their spouse will make after the separation.

There is good reason for separating parties to gain an order from the Court. If a party acquires property, earns money, or acquires debt while legally married then such financial issues will be considered of the marriage. This means that a spouse may have a claim to such property or one may claim that their spouse should be partially responsible for a debt. Say, for example, that two spouses separate. Spouse “A” purchases an investment and the value of that investment doubles in a relatively short amount of time. Now suppose that spouse “B” runs up $50,000 worth of credit card debt at this same time. Even though the parties are separated, A may potentially be held responsible for a portion of B’s credit card debt and B may be entitled to a portion of A’s investment. If the parties were legally separated then these financial issues would also be “separate.”

Unfortunately, Florida is different from other states in that it does not recognize the concept of legal separation. In other words, a Florida Court will not issue orders similar to the one’s described above. The good news, however, is that parties can achieve at least partially similar results through a post-nuptial agreement, which I will discuss in my next article. If you are separating from your spouse then it is important that your rights remain protected. Contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne separation lawyer. As a family law attorney I have handled many such matters.

We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.