Legal Separation

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Legal Separation

It takes more than a piece of official paper to keep two people together, so itís not uncommon to find couples living apart though married on† paper.† This is termed "legal separation", an arrangement by which a couple choose to live apart, following a court order.

The difference between legal separation and a divorce is that a legal separation does not end a marriage while the conclusion of a divorce is the end of the marriage.

Reasons for Legal Separation

Legal separation is an option for couples who choose not to divorce in hopes of the likelihood of reconciliation in the near future. Other reasons for pursuing a legal separation in lieu of a divorce are the potential financial implications of divorce, the costs of divorce attorneys, tax ramifications of divorce and the maintenance of health benefits.† The court order will include resolutions about the custody of children, separation of assets and related financial obligations.

Legal separation is not recognized universally and Florida is one of the few states in the U.S that does not recognize the legal certification of separation. This means that there is no legal implication under the law if any of the parties to a legal separation refuses to comply with the agreement in Florida; however, there are certain laws that can be used to achieve the same results as a legal separation. Get in touch with Steven a top Divorce Attorney in West Palm Beach, for specific details.

Advantages of Legal Separation:

  • It is a fair alternative for religious beliefs that oppose divorce
  • In the case of military spouses, remaining married for at least 10 years qualifies you to benefit from the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.
  • It gives you a right to certain social security benefits if you stay married for at least 10 years or more.
  • In the event of a divorce afterwards, a legal separation agreement can be modified into a divorce settlement agreement.
  • The period of separation can be used by couples to take a break from the hassles of marriage and think their decisions through with the aid of counselling or related therapy.
  • It allows the continuity of health care coverage, medical benefits and other advantages that a divorce will end.

Legal Separation Alternatives

There are related legal agreements that can take the place of a legal separation in Florida, they include:

  • Petition for Support: - This allows a spouse to receive alimony and child support for the spouse who moves out of the matrimonial home without filing for divorce.
  • Postnuptial Agreements - This defines the terms and condition of the distribution of assets, child support, child custody/visitation, spousal support and debts.
  • A Separation Agreement - This can provide the same result as legal separation.

If a separated couple opt for a divorce afterwards, the decisions made for the legal separation are null, until re-examined by the court.

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While a legal separation cannot fix a marriage in crisis, it provides certain benefits and protections that would otherwise be unavailable if they simply opted for divorce.

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