Do I Need to File for Support Not Connected with Dissolution of Marriage?

What is Support without Dissolution?

Section 61.09 allows a married individual to file for support (child support and alimony) where a person does not seek a dissolution.  This statute allows a party to seek alimony or child support.  However, that party may or may not request the entry of a parenting plan.  A final judgment of support does not include distribution of marital assets.  This type of action is sometimes referred to as separate maintenance.

“If a person having the ability to contribute to the maintenance of his or her spouse and support of his or her minor child fails to do so, the spouse who is not receiving support may apply to the court for alimony and for support for the child without seeking dissolution of marriage, and the court shall enter an order as it deems just and proper.”  F.S. 61.09.

What Circumstances Justify an Action for Support Not Connected with Dissolution?

There are a number of situation in which a married individual might want to file for support yet not seek a divorce.  The Florida Statutes do not recognize the status of being “legally separated”.  The process of obtaining support while the parties are defacto separated permits a party to obtain support without asking for a dissolution.  Another reason that a party may not seek a divorce is related to religious beliefs.  Some religions do not permit divorce, so separation may be the most appropriate choice for that individual, but the other spouse may stop providing needed support during this period.  Individuals are sometimes hesitant to go through with a divorce while the children are still under 18 years of age or still living in the home.  Under Florida Law, a person must be a Florida resident for the six months preceding the filing for dissolution.  This statute permits that individual to file for support without waiting six months.

What Action will the Court Take?

A family law judge will enter an order providing for child support based upon Florida’s child support guidelines which are found in the Florida Statutes.  The guidelines are designed to take both parents’ incomes and combining them.  The guidelines are used to see how much support the child or children are entitled to.  There are a number of other calculations that are taken into account, such as: the percentage of the total that each parent earns, who pays for insurance, as well as daycare.  Once the guideline calculations are determined, a party may request a deviation from the guidelines.  If the deviation (up or down) exceeds 5%, the court must enter an order with specific findings of fact to justify the departure.

How Much Alimony or Child Support Might I be Entitled to?

The amount of alimony awarded is discretionary.  There are quite a few factors that he judge may consider in making such a determination.  Therefore, completing a Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit is required.  Two forms exist for this purpose (Form 12.902(b) or 12.902(c)).  Form 12.902(b) is designed to be completed by parties who earn less than $50,000 per year.  Form 12.902(c) is designed for parties that earn more than $50,000 per year.  Parties that earn less than $50,000 per year may be required to complete form 12.902(c) upon request.  The two forms are substantially similar, but Form 12.902(c) requires more detail regarding one’s finances.

Who Should I Contact to Explore Support not connected with Dissolution?

Contact our North Florida Office to Learn More.  If you believe that filing for support not connected with dissolution may be beneficial in your situation, it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney to find out if such an action fits your circumstances.  Our Jacksonville office can answer any questions that you may have regarding support not connected with dissolution in Florida.  To schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney, Call (904) 685-1200 today.  Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, 4115 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32207.  Telephone (904) 685-1200.

About the author

Neil Weinreb is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing family law for over 17 years in North Florida.  Mr. Weinreb works for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Weinreb has worked as an adjunct professor teaching law to paralegal students at Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can contact Mr. Weinreb at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation.






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