Using a Postnuptial Agreement as a Substitute for Legal Separation
Legal separation has many benefits. It allows individuals that are considering divorce to live apart for some time while they consider if divorcing is really the best option. It also allows people that cannot divorce due to religious or other reasons to live like they are divorced without making it official. Unfortunately, Florida does not recognize legal separations. However, there is an alternative option people can use when they do not want to get divorced but they also no longer want to live as a married couple. That option is a postnuptial agreement.
How can a Postnuptial Agreement Work as a Legal Separation?
A postnuptial agreement works very similarly to a premarital agreement. Within this document, you and your spouse can agree to certain terms such as alimony, child custody, property division, and more. The only difference between a postnuptial agreement and a premarital agreement is that a postnuptial contract is entered into after you and your spouse have already married. Due to this, you and your spouse can create one when you decide to separate, even if the actual separation is not considered legal.
When a postnuptial agreement is in place, it can outline all the terms of a divorce without the couple actually getting one. Still, the couple can live as though they are legally separated and still protect their interests. If one spouse then violates the terms of the postnuptial agreement, the other spouse can then take the contract to court to enforce the terms.
Child Custody in Postnuptial Agreements
The only term of divorce that is not concrete in a postnuptial agreement is child custody. This is because although you can informally agree to a child custody agreement, such as how much parenting time each spouse will have with the child, a court can always reverse these decisions and issue their own legally binding decision. When determining child custody issues, a judge will consider what is in the best interests of the child. If a judge finds that the provisions in a postnuptial agreement is unfair, or is not in the best interests of the child, they can ignore the terms in the postnuptial agreement.
Topics to Address in a Postnuptial Agreement
When creating a postnuptial agreement as an alternative to legal separation, there are certain topics you may want to address. These include:
- Which spouse will reside in the marital residence
- The amount of spousal support one spouse will receive from the other
- Where any minor children will reside
- When payments of alimony will be made and how much those payment will be
- How property will be divided
These are just a few of the most important factors to include in your postnuptial agreement. The most important thing is that you determine what is important to you, and include those in the contract.
Need Help with Your Postnuptial Agreement? Call Our Florida Divorce Lawyers
Although Florida does not recognize legal separations, there are alternatives available that can provide the same provisions, such as creating a postnuptial agreement. When you need help creating yours, call our Tampa divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group. We can create a contract that protects your best interests and that will be enforceable by the courts. Call us today at (813) 672-1900 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our attorneys.