Child support. Alimony. Time sharing. Parenting plans. These are closely associated with divorce, which is legally referred to in Florida as “dissolution of marriage.” In some situations, though, spouses who are not seeking a dissolution of marriage may obtain a court order that addresses these important family law matters. While these situations are somewhat rare, there are two universal truths: every marriage is unique, and minor children are entitled to financial support in accordance with their best interests.
Alimony and Child Support Without Dissolution of Marriage
Title VI, Section 61.09 of the Florida Statutes allows spouses to petition the court to compel the other spouse to provide alimony or child support. Unmarried parents have a different legal procedure to gain child support from a non-paying parent. Spouses who do not wish to start a dissolution of marriage may petition for both alimony AND child support under this section. Spouses are not required to petition for both arrangements, however. Any spouse who is the subject of a pending court action under this section and has the ability to contribute will likely be required to start paying. There is no requirement that spouses must be living separately to obtain a court order under this section of the Florida Statutes.
Time Sharing Without Dissolution of Marriage
The very next section in the Florida Statutes allows spouses living apart from the other spouse and minor children to petition for a parenting plan. This court order covers timesharing, which is Florida’s term for physical custody. Percentage of timesharing is determined by the number of overnights apportioned to each party within a given year. This section also allows the court to establish financial obligations of the spouse living apart from the rest of his or her family. Spouses who are going through divorce may not petition the court under Section 61.10 of Title VI.
Florida Does Not Have Legal Separation
Florida, along with Delaware, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas, have no laws on the books recognizing legal separation. Although, spouses are considered separated in Florida upon the filing of a dissolution of marriage petition. For some spouses not living in the same location as their minor children, though, there is a legal avenue in the Sunshine State to establish a parenting plan. The same goes for married parents who are not getting financial support from the other spouse. Petitioning for any of the court orders discussed in this article does not prevent spouses from filing for divorce. By the same token, you are still considered to be married after obtaining court orders under Title VI, Sections 61.09 and 61.10 of the Florida Statutes.
Even if you feel like you’re stuck in a marriage with a lousy co-parent, you have legal options to get the financial support you need to make ends meet. Conversely, you can get a court order compelling your spouse to let you have access to your child without filing for a dissolution of marriage. Whatever accomplishes your goals most efficiently is what the Divorce and Mediation Law Firm will help you do. Our caring legal team aims to minimize stress for clients while aggressively representing their interests. Please call us at (954)-447-2580 to set up a confidential consultation today.