Many couples look at separation and divorce as almost interchangeable words. “I’m separated,” is seen by many to mean, “I’m getting divorced, but we haven’t got that far with the legal paperwork yet.” In reality, however, separation is a very different matter from divorce both legally and emotionally.
It’s true: For some people, separation is simply the first required step in the legal divorce process. Whether a full separation is required before a divorce can be granted depends on the state, and Florida has some specific rules about when separation applies. For example, if you want to seek a no-fault divorce, then you and your spouse must have been voluntarily separated for one year. That means you can’t have lived together or had sexual intercourse even once during that time; the cohabitation requirement extends to not even spending the night together under one roof for a single night during that time.
You can already see how the law can make the idea of separation even more complex, and what we’ve included above is just a tiny snippet of the legal requirements for divorce. We also understand that separation isn’t always a step toward divorce: Many couples seek reconciliation and a stronger marriage via the separation process.
Regardless of why you are seeking separation and how it ends up working out, during your time of separation, other obligations don’t go away. Our firm can work with you to ensure obligations and other areas of life are handled with care during a separation. This can range from ensuring all bills are paid and financial matters worked out between you to arranging temporary custody issues if children are involved. Working with a professional during the separation process can help you better align your situation with your goals — whether those goals are to stay married or seek a divorce.