How to get a "legal separation" in Florida is a frequent question here at DIY Divorce in Florida blog. In fact, Florida law does not provide for a "legal separation." So the short answer to the question is No - you cannot get a legal separation in the State of Florida.
The reason has to do with the fact that Florida, like most states, is a "no fault" divorce state. In states that still require "fault" to get a divorce, legislatures added a ground of being legally separated for a certain length of time (one, three or 5 years for example). In Florida, the usual allegation for dissolving a marriage is that it is "irretrievably broken" so that's there is no hope of reconciling.
Instead, Florida law gives you 2 choices:
- An action for "Support Unconnected with Dissolution of Marriage." So if you are planning to live apart and want the court to "approve" the terms, this is the action you would file.
- You can also execute a mediation or settlement agreement providing the terms of your "separation" without having it approved by the court. If you need to enforce it, you can enforce it as a contract when and if the need arises.
So even though Florida does not have "legal separation" you can achieve the same result. The method you choose will depend on how much court involvement you want.