St. Petersburg Legal Separation Lawyer
You may have irreconcilable differences with your spouse, but divorce is not the only way to deal with it. The separation between a married couple should not be taken lightly. Marriage is a holy sacrament, and nobody should destroy it. Although, if both parties have encountered a giant dispute to the point that they both agreed to part ways because it is their last best option, then the story suddenly becomes different.
There are different legal acts in terms of dealing with marriage, wherein the husband and wife will separate from one another. Legal separation, annulment, and divorce. Often, these three are interchanged, but they have distinct legal meanings as well as terms and conditions.
Call St. Petersburg Family Law at (727) 228-6200 now to get a consultation with a law expert.
What is Legal Separation?
Legal separation provides court-ordered permission to a married couple to live separately while remaining married. The marriage is still valid, but the decision of both parties not to settle in the same house will be granted. Legal separation is less common than annulment and divorce, but it helps a couple contemplate on their marriage and settle their rights and obligations.
In Florida, the law does not recognize legal separation intrinsically. Yet, couples who decide on pursuing a divorce do not proceed at all. They only stay separated. Due to this reason, separation issues such as payment of debts, child custody, and support, spousal support, use of assets, etc. are not easily agreed upon by both partners with the mediation of the court.
A temporary legal separation allows a married couple who are not ready for divorce yet to separate through filing a petition in court and submitting a formal written document containing the consent of both parties.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce and Annulment
Divorce is a permanent dissolution of marriage, whereas an annulment invalidates the existence of a marriage. Without legal assistance, divorce can be perplexing because it requires many legal documents and processes. Couples who choose to get a divorce wrestle with the consequences that it entails emotionally and mentally; that is why others decide to go for an annulment so they won’t have to deal with them for life. They only have to think that the marriage did not exist after all.
Legal separation is the first step towards any other legal actions concerning the parting of a husband and a wife. There are advantages and disadvantages, as well. For example, legal separation permits the retention of health care and other interests, such as social security benefits. Divorce terminates these benefits.
Divorce allows any of the two parties to remarry, whereas legal separation does not because it does not suspend the marriage after the separation of the couple. In terms of decision-making, spouses can still decide on each other’s affairs, especially if they have agreed upon it. Divorce does not allow this because neither of them is considered as next of kin anymore.
In a divorce, both parties’ debts are handled while the divorce process takes place. Legal separation can still make either party responsible for the debt of the other. There is a preservation of property rights in a legal separation. Meaning to say, if one of the parties dies, the other is entitled to property benefits. Divorce extinguishes this opportunity.
If you are not certain yet, you can choose to file for legal separation first, because it grants a convenient reconciliation once a married couple decides to reunite. Divorce is a permanent separation; it cannot be undone.
Trial Separation and Permanent Separation
Living separately in Florida can be classified into two: trial and permanent separation.
On the one hand, a trial separation can induce no legal effect; the terms are also set only by the married couple, not by a court. If either of the party acquires a property or debt during a trial separation, it is still recognized as property or debt acquired during the marriage. Thus, it becomes marital property.
On the other hand, a permanent separation takes place when the couple has decided to live separately for the rest of their lives. Permanent separation does not require the filing of legal separation paperwork in court. As opposed to a trial separation, any property or debt acquired after a permanent separation is considered property or debt of the acquiring consort.
Seek for Legal Assistance in St Petersburg, Florida
If you need legal advice and assistance in St Petersburg, Florida, St. Petersburg Family Law can help you. Legal separation, annulment, or divorce can cause confusion and anxiety to the family, especially if you have children.
Our legal separation lawyers are more than willing to accommodate your legal concerns and questions. We will help you process your formal written legal separation documents and other requirements for the petition, giving you the value of the legal separation cost.
Call St. Petersburg Family Law at (727) 228-6200 to book a free consultation!