Legal Separation Lawyer in Jacksonville
Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Florida
Florida is one of nine states across the country that does not formally recognize a "legal separation." Instead, when a couple having marital problems realizes they need to be apart in order to calm the situation down, they can separate without any sort of court hearing. If there are children involved, the family law courts in Jacksonville do recognize the need for both parents to continue to provide for the welfare and support of the children during such a separation, and will act to safeguard their best interests in the situation.
When you have questions about the legal and practical aspects involved in separating from your spouse, you are invited to contact us at Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. We can provide you with an initial consultation to review your options and give you the information necessary to make an informed decision.
Common Reasons Couples Choose to Separate
Why should you pursue a legal separation? Many couples choose this course of action out of a desire to observe deeply held religious prohibitions against divorce, as it makes it possible to effectively bring about the conditions of a dissolution of marriage without violating their religious convictions. Some do so in order to avoid losing health care coverage or other benefits, while others are hoping to salvage the relationship and merely want to impose time and space between themselves to let a heated situation cool down.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to legally separate is as a precursor to divorce—you and your spouse can test out terms of alimony, such as property division and child custody, to find out what works best for both parties, thereby avoiding a costly and protracted contested divorce and the necessity of post-decree modifications, which can be difficult to secure.
Even though Florida does not legally recognize separation, it is possible to petition the court for an order to pay child support to the parent who has primary custody of the children. We can help you and your spouse prepare the necessary agreements for a separation including financial support, child custody and visitation.
When a married couple decides to live apart, does not share a common bank account and each pays their own living expenses, they are considered separated. It is always helpful to put the agreements governing such an arrangement in writing, to avoid conflicts over assumed agreements and misunderstandings. If you are separated and are now needing child support or are being asked for child support, we can help you ensure that your children are properly cared for and their needs are met.
Actions for Support in Jacksonville
A petition for child support is called an "action for support." While it is a mandatory step of any divorce proceeding when children are involved, the parent seeking support during a separation must file it personally. Alimony or spousal support is often much more difficult to secure in our state outside of a divorce proceeding, so it is in your best interests to retain a skilled attorney who can effectively advocate on your behalf.
At the Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., our Jacksonville separation attorneys are sincerely committed to defending our clients' best interests, and will work diligently to help you secure a separation agreement which works in your favor. Whether it is a short term arrangement or a plan which you expect to use for many years, you should realize that the terms of the agreement may have a significant impact on your life, determining whether you are financially stable and can spend as much time with your children as you would like.
Let us guide you through this process, contact us today to get started!
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