If you and your spouse are contemplating the idea of divorce but are not necessarily ready to commit to a legal dissolution, many couples choose to separate. This separation allows the couple to see what life may look like as a divorced couple, including the new living arrangements, financial constraints, and child custody plans necessary to effectuate a divorce. Although the State of Florida does not recognize a legal separation, you may still want to take some legal measures during this time to protect yourself. Separating, especially on a trial basis can be a complicated process and it is advised that you seek out the assistance of an experienced Orlando Divorce Attorney to assure you are taking proper steps to protect yourself financially during this time.
The first step in a separation process is to determine the ownership or occupancy of the marital home. Some couples wish to have one spouse remain in the home for the benefit of the minor children involved in the marriage. If this is the case, it would be necessary to determine what bills will be paid and which spouse is responsible for each. For instance, a couple may decide to keep a single joint bank account where the household mortgage payments, utilities, and bills will be paid out of. However, other couples will choose to specifically designate a certain bill or payment to a single spouse. It is critical to make these decisions up front so there is no confusion between the couple and no late payments or defaults occur that may affect your credit. In contrast, a couple may choose to sell the marital home and split the proceeds. If this is your desire, it will be critical to determine the realtor to be used, provide timelines for moving out, the base line amount you are willing to accept, the amount left on the home, and how the proceeds of the sale will be split.
After determining the occupation or sale of the marital home, discuss with your spouse the outstanding debts and future debts that may accrue. You will still be considered legally married, during this time of separation, therefore, you can be held personally responsible to any financial institution for any debt obtained during the marriage by you or your spouse. Therefore, it will be prudent to discuss each outstanding debt and assign it to a specific spouse. Further, it will be important to note if you both will consider any debts that will be incurred during your time of separation to be joint or separate. Separating credit cards to each individual and limiting the usage could aid in this process.
The most important piece to your financial security when separating from a spouse is to get all of the details discussed and agreed upon in writing. This is where the aid of your Orlando Divorce Attorney will be invaluable. They will be able to draft for you a postnuptial agreement that will meet the necessary legal requirements to be legally binding upon you and your spouse. This document can discuss the ownership of the home and respective responsibility for mortgage payments and utilities as well as the assignment of debt or indemnity of a spouse of future debt incurred during this time. This document is crucial to holding your spouse responsible to their obligations discussed verbally and may also be used to present to the court if a divorce does become the ultimate decision of the parties.
Finally, it will be important for you to take steps to formulate a new budget for yourself. This budget should remove the amount that your spouse’s income would bring to the table and focus solely on your own income, assets, expenditures, and liabilities. Be realistic in this budget as it can become a useful tool if you do ultimately decide that divorce is what is best for you and your spouse.
If you are considering divorce, but are engaging in a trial separation, contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney today to ensure you have properly covered all the necessary financial aspects of a separation. We will provide you with representation that not only fights for your rights but considers your choices and best interests at all times.
Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.