Separation vs. Divorce: The Complete Guide - ADA Blog

Separation vs. Divorce: The Complete Guide

by Aaron Delgado
06/29/22 (Updated: 11/13/22)

No relationship is without its difficulties, but there are situations where a couple might not be able to decide whether to get separated or divorced. Most people know that if a marriage comes to a formal end, that typically means a divorce; however, there are situations where a couple may decide to stay married but live apart. This is a separation.

What is the difference between a separation and a divorce, and what do couples need to know? There are impacts that both of these decisions can have on your legal rights.


What Does it Mean To Be Separated?

There are some situations where married couples may want to take a break from each other, but they are not yet ready to go through the process of getting a divorce. Perhaps they still believe there is a chance for them to resolve their differences.

This is called a separation. It means that you and your spouse are living apart, but you haven't made the decision to legally end your marriage. This doesn't even mean that you need to live in separate residences, as you could be considered roommates even as a married couple. A separation can also be informal. This means that you don't need to go to court to drop any formal separation agreement. There are several different types of separations. They include:

  • Trial Separation: This is a voluntary separation. It is usually called a marriage separation. It doesn't require you to file anything with the court, and all marital property laws still apply. You may want to draw up a separation agreement that you both agree to.
  • Permanent Separation: Another type of separation is called a permanent separation. This means that you and your spouse are living apart and that there is no hope of reconciling anything. There are some situations where couples may be required to live apart for a certain amount of time before they can go through the formal divorce process.
  • Legal Separation: A legal separation is a separation that is formally recognized by the court. Not every state allows legal separation, but there are some states that may use a legal separation to make it easier for someone to get a divorce after a certain amount of time. Keep in mind that just because the court has issued a legal separation doesn't mean you can remarry. If you want to remarry, you will need to get a formal divorce.

There are multiple types of separations, and if you believe that the differences between you and your spouse are impossible to reconcile, you need to think about which type of separation is best for your needs. A family law attorney can assist you with that.

What Is the Difference Between a Separation and a Divorce?

So, a separation means that your marriage is left intact. A divorce means that your marriage is legally over. Even though this is the biggest difference, there are other, significant differences as well. Some of the differences to keep in mind include:

  • A separation is relatively easy to reverse. If you are legally separated, all you need to do is file a motion with the court asking it to end the separation. If you did not get a legal separation, all you need to do is move back in with your spouse.
  • If you go through a divorce, you terminate any rights you have regarding potential decisions you could make for your spouse. For example, if you were making financial decisions for your spouse in some situations, you are no longer able to do so if you have gotten divorced.
  • If you formally end your marriage, you lose any claim to income or debt that might have been shared between you and your spouse. Even though the income and debt should be divided evenly during the divorce, you will no longer have any shared property with them.
  • If you are separated, you will still have access to certain benefits. For example, if you are getting health insurance through your spouse, you can continue to do so even after you have been separated. On the other hand, if you get a divorce, you will not continue to get health insurance through your spouse.

These are a few of the most important differences you need to know regarding separations and divorces. You must think about all of these issues before deciding what is right for you. A family law attorney can help you with that.

Florida Does Not Require a Specific Separation Time Period Before Divorce

There are a lot of states that require couples to live apart for a certain amount of time before they can legally file for divorce. In Florida, that is not the case. Florida does not require any sort of waiting period before a couple can get a divorce, but Florida does require that at least one of the parties reside in the State of Florida for at least half of the year before filing for a divorce.

If you and your spouse have been living in Florida for an extended amount of time, that should not be an issue. That means that you can go through the divorce process relatively quickly.

A Family Law Attorney Can Help With Separations and Divorces

If you are unsure of whether you should get a separation or a divorce, it is important for you to work with a family law attorney in Florida. There are a lot of consequences for both decisions, and you need to figure out which one is right for your needs.

Furthermore, if you believe that you need a forced separation from your spouse due to your safety, or the safety of your children, this is another reason why you need to reach out to a Florida family law attorney. You need to make sure that the process is done quickly and accurately to protect yourself and your children. Finally, even if you think a divorce is the best option, you still need to work with a family law attorney who can streamline the process and help you save money.

Call Aaron Delgado and Associates for Help With Florida Separations and Divorces

The decision to get separated or divorced in Florida can be a difficult one, but it is not one that you need to make on your own. At Aaron Delgado and Associates, we have helped countless spouses advocate for their rights as they go through the separation and divorce process. Regardless of what you think the future might hold, we are here to help you. Contact us today for a case consultation.

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