Florida Marital Separation Laws

Florida divorce law does not have a formal process providing for a legal separation of spouses. In fact, Florida family law does not even utilize the term "legal separation" in Florida divorce cases. Some clients ask about preventing divorce and if Florida law has a mechanism to stop a divorce decree from being entered by the divorce court. The answer is, no. If either spouse wishes to be divorced, there is no way to prevent the divorce decree from being entered by the family court.

However, Florida spouses who wish to separate but not divorce may request that their Florida family law attorney file a Florida spousal support action on their behalf. Florida spousal support actions are governed by the Florida statutes and may be filed as an independent action. In other words, a Florida Divorce Complaint does not need to be filed to be able to file an action for Florida spousal support. If no divorce complaint is filed, a Florida spousal support action is technically called "Support without Dissolution" or "Separate Maintenance". Another way that a Florida spousal support attorney may start a spousal support action is to include a count for it in a Divorce Complaint (in Florida called a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage") when it is believed that the Respondent may allege that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. The final judgment in an action for Separate Maintenance will not end the marriage or distribute marital property but may provide for the payment of alimony, a child custody schedule and child support. Florida law permits either the Florida spousal support lawyer representing the spouse in need of support to petition for Support without Dissolution or the Florida spousal support attorney representing the spouse responsible for paying the support to petition for Separate Maintenance (although the later rarely occurs).

In some situations, the spouses may agree to a separation and wish to enter the terms of their separation into a Florida marital separation agreement. A marriage separation agreement can set forth the spouses' wishes during their marital separation regarding occupancy of the marital home, payment of any marital debts, child custody arrangements including a parenting plan and provisions for the payment of child support or spousal support.

Unlike the Florida child support laws where there are child support calculators that form the basis for the amount owed, there are no Florida spousal support calculations or formulas used to determine the amount of spousal support payments. Instead, the Florida courts consider a number of factors in determining whether spousal support or alimony is appropriate and, if so, how much should be paid. Florida spousal support action to learn more about the different types of alimony and the alimony factors.

Contact our Dade County Marriage Separation Attorneys

Contact our Miami legal separation attorneys at 305-222-7351, or e-mail us to schedule an appointment to discuss your Dade County, Broward County, or Monroe County separation or divorce case. Our Miami divorce lawyers accept family law cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County.

Consultations are available in Miami and several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Galiano Street in Coral Gables, West Country Club Drive in Aventura and Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.

Want to Learn More?

If you would like more information on family law topics, read the topics in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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