Osenton Law Offices Divorce Attorney Explains Legal Options Available for Trial Separations

Law Firm Newswire



Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 30, 2013 – While not a requirement for divorce, Florida couples have two options available for legal separations.

Unlike some other states, Floridians who wish to divorce are not required first to undergo legal separation. But some couples who feel divorce is in their future may wish to take an interim step. Separation does not have to be a formal legal matter, of course, but as Tampa divorce lawyer Kristi McCart explains, there are two options for those who wish to have a trial separation with rules in place.

“The first option is a post-nuptial agreement,” McCart said, “which is very much like a prenuptial agreement, except that it is an agreement reached after marriage.”

Post-nuptial agreements most often address what will happen if spouses divorce, such as how to divide assets and the conditions under which alimony may be awarded. However, these agreements can also set rules for what happens during the marriage. Separating couples might use it to lay out financial plans, child time-sharing agreements, and even how spouses must treat each other.

“The second option,” McCart added, “is a legal arrangement called ‘Support Unrelated to Dissolution of Marriage.’ This creates an enforceable arrangement wherein one spouse receives spousal support and/or child support. The agreement is limited in scope – typically it does not address parental arrangements such as custody, time-sharing, and decision-making – but it is useful in some cases.”

McCart added that she advises clients to engage in a “collaborative process” in order to implement either of these separation agreements. Collaborative family law is a process by which couples agree to work together, with their attorneys, to reach a mutually-agreeable compromise, as opposed to working in opposition with the possibility of resorting to litigation to settle matters.

“Collaborative family law is the best way to go whenever possible, especially when children are involved. After the litigation is completed, the couple are still parents to a child and must work together as healthy and effective co-parents. So as long as the partners or spouses retain any ability to work together to reach a compromise, that is what I recommend.”