When a couple in Florida separates, a legal agreement is not required.  However, a separation agreement is advisable when a couple has very differing financial situations, such as one partner is the wage earner and one stays home and takes care of the children.  A formal separation agreement will help ensure that all family members’ needs be met. 

The agreement needs to cover all necessary details and also comply with any applicable law.  The terms of the agreement will depend on the needs of the couple and any children involved, but the following details should be covered in the agreement. 

  • Custody of the children
  • Child support
  • The spouses’ right to live separately
  • Income taxes
  • Insurance – medical, dental and life
  • Alimony or spousal support
  • A visitation schedule
  • Property and debt division

Although a separation agreement does not have to be filed with the court, it can be presented if problems arise in the future. 

Another reason for filing a separation agreement is to protect the assets obtained after the separation.  It would seem common sense that once a couple has separated emotionally and financially, that whatever assets obtained after the separation would belong to the individual who obtained the asset.  Unfortunately, this is not so.  When one partner decides to petition for a dissolution of marriage, if a valid separation agreement has not been executed, all assets of the couple will be evenly distributed to both spouses. 

In order to prevent any unnecessary litigation and court expenses and protect your assets as well, as soon as you separate from your spouse execute a valid separation agreement.  An experienced family law attorney can assist you in this process and can also ensure that the document will be upheld in the future should you or your spouse decide to petition for a dissolution of marriage.