Can I file for child support while separated?


Can I file for child support while separated?


Can i file for child support while separated? This is a common question asked and an important one. In most states, there is a waiting period before you may get divorced. In some cases, this waiting period is as long as one year if you have minor children and are getting a no fault divorce. During this one year separation period, you may be in limbo- there may be no divorce decree, but you also aren't going to be living with your spouse and sharing a joint bank account. This makes things complicated if you need support from your spouse and aren't getting it. 

  • The first thing to consider in such a situation is whether you can create a legal separation agreement.
  • Some states require legal separation before a divorce, while others don't recognize the concept of a legal separation at all. 
  • In still others, a support and maintenance agreement is an option, but the period of being separated before divorce is not referred to as an actual legal separation. 

Regardless of what you call it or whether your state actually recognizes legal separation, in every state, you will be able to create an agreement with your spouse for child support and have the court enforce it if you choose to do so before getting a divorce.

Of course, if your spouse won't agree to this, then things will become a bit more complicated. In such instances, you will need to go to family court and get a mandated decree or order of support that requires your spouse to pay upkeep for the kids in the duration of time prior to the creation of a formal divorce settlement. Most courts will do this, as it is in the best interests of the child and sound public policy to make sure that both parents provide financial support. 

To get help compelling your spouse to pay child support before a divorce is final, or for other assistance in drafting a legal separation agreement, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer in your area. 

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