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Is Separation An Alternative To Gray Divorce?


Gray divorce is the modern phenomenon of older couples divorcing once their family and parenting lives have run their course. While it’s easy to assume that the 55+ community is contributing to the matter of gray divorce, it’s more those between the ages of 40 and 49 who are at a crossroads once their children move out of the home and become adults. If the marriage was only built on perfunctory duties associated with parenting, it will not survive a post-parenting normal.

However, not all couples want to go through the rigamarole of divorce and not all of them can afford to. Is legal separation a viable alternative? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is ‘no’, especially here in Florida where we don’t recognize separation as a matter of law. However, physically placing yourself in different locations is beyond the power of the law to stop.

Gray divorce and legal separation 

While not all states recognize legal separation, there is a good reason to do so. It allows spouses the ability to disentangle their relationship and finances so that problems do not arise. If a wife becomes pregnant while separated in Florida, her former spouse may be considered the father under the law. While those in their 40s are unlikely to contribute new babies to the world, other problems can arise as well.

What does Florida offer? 

Florida expects that couples separating will divorce and should pursue a divorce through the legal process. For now, legal separation is not an option for Florida divorcees and should be avoided because it makes divorce more complicated. This is probably not the answer you were looking for, but unfortunately, it is the best generic advice we can offer in a state where legal separation is not on the table.

Further, couples that want to date other people may find that the choice impacts their divorce in certain situations. However, condonation is a defense to allegations of adultery. It’s best to be careful.

Temporary relief 

Once the divorce is initiated, you will be able to ask for temporary relief and nothing you do as far as dating other people can be used against you. It offers a better alternative than just using a handshake agreement to initiate a separation. Once the separation occurs, couples unconscious animosities start bubbling to the surface and suddenly, an issue you thought was resolved becomes major litigation leverage you thought you’d never have to face.

Cheap divorces 

Couples who want to divorce fast and easily have the option of filing for an uncontested divorce so long as they can reason all agreements on their own and dependent children are no longer a factor. This is the best way Florida offers to achieve the same thing from legal separation.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Divorce Attorney Today 

Considering your best move for your new normal? Contact a Tampa family attorney and we’ll happily answer any questions you have.

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