Legal Separation | Did You Know?

Legal Separation | Did You Know | Why you need a family lawyer, even for legal separation

Statistics show that almost half of all marriages end in divorce. That is why society has slowly come to accept non-traditional relationships where the dissolution might not have the same impact. Yet some couples decide to opt for legal separation rather than heading for a divorce. The reason might be religious sentiment, family pressure, tax benefits, social security credits, health insurance benefits, or children’s security. Regardless of the reason that leads you to legal separation instead of divorce, it is important that you’re aware of facts and the difference between divorce and legal separation before you sign the document. According to Florida Divorce Requirements for the ground of voluntary separation without cohabitation, the residency requirement is six months in Florida. The law absolutely requires that you or your spouse has been a resident for the stated period of time immediately prior to and at the time that you file for a divorce.  Of course, it depends on whether it is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree on child support, custody, visitation, division of property and debts, and alimony, if any. An uncontested divorce can take as little as four to five weeks. If the matter is contested — that is, the court must decide any of these issues — it can take six months or longer. In counties where the courts are extremely busy, it can easily take a year or more.   One spouse must be a Florida resident for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for divorce. If you are temporarily living out of state, the judge will decide whether or not you are still a Florida resident. If the court determines that you have no intention of coming back, you probably will not be considered a Florida resident. If you are in the military, being stationed outside of Florida does not affect your residency.  Most spouses don’t take divorce issues to trial, though; they settle their disputes themselves or with the help of a mediator. However, there is no legal separation in Florida. Once your spouse files for a divorce and you get served with legal process, you will have 20 days to respond, or a default will be entered against you. Don’t allow that to happen. You can lose valuable property rights and custodial rights as well. In Florida, there are no specific grounds for divorce. You only have to allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken, which basically means broken beyond repair. If he/she proposes a fair and equitable agreement, you can sign after the advice of your family lawyer, and end the litigation process before you squander all your marital assets and incur substantial legal fees. If you do not agree to the terms, you do not have to sign the papers, and you can request a trial in front of a family court judge. If you believe your marriage is not broken beyond repair, encourage your spouse to seek joint marital counseling. At The Law Offices of John D. Girolamo, Esq., our number one goal is to protect and fight for your rights!  Get the justice you deserve with a name you can trust.  Contact us today. Learn More:
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