When it comes to paying for child support, there is a legal grey area during a period of separation before divorce proceedings have begun. It’s a common question for both parties to wonder whether a separated spouse should be paying financial support before officially filing for divorce. Will the courts consider nonpayment to be abandonment?
Fortunately, there are practical legal answers to these concerns. For starters, there is no legal requirement to make such payments unless the court has ordered them. It is possible for both parties to make their own arrangements and agree on a certain amount of child support, but only the court’s decision is legally binding and mandatory.
On the other hand, it’s a parents obligation to support their own child. If both parties cannot come to their own conclusion on paying child support after filing for divorce, the decision may go to the courts on a temporary or permanent basis. Generally, the result of the court order depends on what is best for the child, how many children there are, and how much in income either party makes.
Temporary child support ensures your children will receive the care that they need until divorce papers can be filed and a permanent solution can be sought. This is not just in your children’s best interests, but it allows both parents to fulfill their obligation to provide for their children.
Legality of Separation
Separation functions much like a divorce, making it an option for couples who still want to be married in case they resolve their differences or cannot due to religion. By legally separating, there is a court order that will settle any marriage issues, including joint debt allocation, spousal support payment, and property division, as well as child custody and support payments.
Legal Separation Agreement
The agreement resulting from a legal separation dictates how each relevant marriage concern must be handled. As far as children as concerned, the agreement will discuss custody, including where the child will live, as well as how much a parent must pay in child support. This amount is contingent upon each parent’s income, the amount of time spent living with the child, and state laws.
How Much are Payments?
Voluntarily offering child support payments can help a divorce case, such as avoiding temporary mandates. If both parties are willing to work with one another and can come to an agreement, it is important to agree upon a value that will support the child’s needs without impairing the other parent.
Certain State Restrictions
In some states, there is no option to legally separate, but child support may still be necessary when living apart in these states. In this situation, the custodial parent seeks payment from the other parent through the court. This works similarly to the rest of the country, but without the inclusion of legal separation. In other words, it is entirely possible to receive child support during separation.
Transitioning to Divorce
If separation does not resolve and eventually leads to divorce, the terms of the agreement made during the legal separation will often serve as the grounds for creating a divorce agreement. It is important to note, however, that child support agreements are not exactly concrete; while the parent is required to make the payments, the amount can either increase or decrease in the future depending on the factors involved. This includes in transition to divorce; if either parent has had a change in income, for example, the amount the custodial parent was receiving during separation may increase or decrease when the divorce settlement is finalized.