Can We Stay Married For the Kids? The Truth About Separations in Florida

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Marriage is sacred for many people. For some, it’s a religious bond that should never be broken and that divorce is a tragic failure for two promised adults. Keep in mind that divorce is inevitable for many couples and can potentially improve your lives in the long run. However many couples would still prefer the option of legal separation, especially when children are involved. It’s sometimes used as a temporary solution to work out differences without disrupting your children’s schedules. Or a somewhat permanent solution in an attempt to forego official divorce proceedings due to seemingly insurmountable issues. Although this is an option in many other states, it’s not legally recognized in the state of Florida.

Separation Isn’t Necessary–Or Enforceable

There are many reasons a couple would wish to opt for a separation instead of officially filing for divorce. Sometimes it’s a way to establish formal agreements regarding child custody, alimony, and division of assets while still legally married. In some states, it’s actually a requirement to be legally separated for a period of time before filing for divorce. In Florida, the process is decidedly less complicated and has no formal legal separation process, so separation agreements are not recognized by the courts.

Establishing Custody Arrangements Before Finalizing a Divorce

Since a formal separation can’t be upheld in court, there are options that will allow the enforcement of certain agreements, like parenting plans. When it comes to establishing child custody arrangements, Florida courts prioritize the best interests of the children. Many parents choose to negotiate a parenting plan before the divorce proceedings to address time sharing, decision-making authority, and child support in an attempt to make the transition as seamless as possible for their children. To accomplish this, parents can petition the court for child custody before the divorce is finalized.

A parenting plan can work throughout the interim period and carry through the end of the divorce process if necessary. However, if an enforceable parenting plan isn’t created, and the court finds that one parent did not sufficiently support their children emotionally or financially, their parental rights may be limited once the divorce is finalized. This is why it’s so important to create legally binding parenting plans regardless of your separation status.

Finding The Right Attorney

The cultural norms around divorce and marriage continue to evolve and adapt to the social climate, but many of the legal rights of parents and ex-spouses have remained largely the same. Every separation or divorce will look different for each couple. Your divorce attorney should respect your individual needs and beliefs to help you find the right solution for your situation while providing guidance on all legally enforceable options. If you’re still in the process of figuring things out, it’s ok to seek out physical and emotional distance from the situation to gain clarity. In the meantime, make sure that your parental rights are protected while you work out the next best move.

Looking for Guidance In Your Situation? Call Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Fim

With more than 60 years of combined experience in family law, we can guide you through your divorce process. There is a happy life waiting for you. Our trusted Legal Team provides bilingual legal services in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. We handle all aspects of Florida Divorces, including alternative resolutions such as Mediation and Postnuptial Agreements.

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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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Sergio Cabanas, Esq. | Family Law Attorney | Cabanas Law Firm

Sergio Cabanas, Esq. founded the Cabanas Law Firm in 2006 and provides Divorce and Family legal services, as well as Estate Planning, to ensure his clients have planned for their newly single life and are protected after their divorce. He began his career in law in 1992 as a prosecuting attorney at the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, then continued his litigation track as an insurance defense attorney defending medical professionals against medical malpractice claims and expanded into disability and life insurance claims. Sergio is a Certified Mediator registered in the Supreme Court of Florida and a frequent speaker in the community about the importance of Estate Planning to keep families out of probate court and to prepare essential instructions in the event of disability or incapacity.