If you are married and thinking about separating from your spouse, you should consult an attorney before taking that step. Actions you take at the time of separation or shortly thereafter make affect any future divorce proceedings.
Florida has no "legal separation;" that is, you do not have to be separated for a specific period of time before you can be divorced or file for divorce. Some states have such a requirement.
When Florida residents talk about "legal separation," they usually mean one of the parties has filed a legal proceeding to initiate divorce. Or, in some cases, a person may mean he or she has entered into a written Agreement with his or her spouse which states how their affairs will be governed when they live separately. Such an agreement is a contract like any other contract and may be enforceable in a Court of law if properly drafted and signed (executed). See Marital Agreements.
It is possible to file an action to obtain child support and spousal support during a period of separation, without divorce. However, property and debt issues cannot be resolved in such an action.
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