Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A

Is Legal Separation Or Divorce Right For You?
If you and your spouse are unsure about divorce, legal separation is a potential alternative. It is important to be aware that many legal and financial considerations must be resolved in a legal separation. You need to ensure you have skilled legal counsel to protect your rights and interests whether you pursue a separation or divorce.

Before attempting to handle a legal separation on your own, contact the Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A in Florida. We will help you consider your options and create a plan to achieve your goals. With almost two decades of experience in family law, you can feel confident entrusting your legal needs to us.

Take action early: The sooner you begin working with us, the sooner we can help you move forward. Call the Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A today for a free consultation.

Understanding Legal Separation
Couples consider legal separation for a number of reasons, including religious beliefs, protecting their children and other personal reasons. A legal separation is not the same thing as a physical separation, in which both spouses live apart but take no legal action. In fact, legal separations are somewhat rare in Florida because the procedure and outcome are very similar to divorce.

In a legal separation, like a divorce, orders must be made for the following:

• The allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody and visitation)
• Child support
• Spousal maintenance (alimony), if it applies

Legal Separation Vs. Divorce
There are three main differences between divorce and separation in Florida:

1. The ability to remarry: A divorce means the marriage is legally over, so each person is free to remarry. After you obtain a legal separation, you are still married. You cannot marry another person.
2. The division of property: In a divorce, the court has the authority to determine child custody, visitation and child support, as well as divide property and order spousal maintenance. In a legal separation, the court has the authority to do all of these things except divide property. This is because, in a legal separation, the court does not have to divide property because you are still married. However, you and your spouse may benefit from addressing property division in a legal separation agreement, which can then be signed by the court.
3. Permanence: A divorce is permanent, although it is possible in some cases to modify the terms of your divorce even after you obtain a divorce decree. A legal separation can last indefinitely, or you can decide to convert your separation into a divorce. Alternatively, you may choose to reconcile.

Ending or putting a marriage on hold through divorce or legal separation is never easy. In addition to the emotional factors, you have a number of important legal decisions ahead of you. It is necessary, whether you pursue divorce or separation, to fully consider how the related legal issues will affect your children, your finances and your general well-being. The Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A can guide you through the process, and help you understand your rights and options every step of the way.

Consider Your Options With Our Help
To discuss your concerns with Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A, complete our online form, or call us. We offer free initial consultations.

Divorce Attorney St. Augustine Beach