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Am I entitled to any financial support if we’re separated?

August 22, 2016 Our Blog

When a couple gets a divorce, it is possible that one party may be entitled to financial support from the other. This support is generally used to pay either to maintain a former spouse’s standard of living or to help support any children that the couple had together. However, can an individual ask for financial support if he or she are only separating?

You and Your Partner May Be Linked As a Practical Matter

If you and your spouse have any joint debts, you are both responsible for paying them. Therefore, you may be able to come to a private agreement to have those bills either split 50/50 or in some way that is fair to both parties. It may also be possible to ask a judge to create an order that will compel your partner to continue to contribute to joint bills. Remember, your creditors are going to come after whoever is on the loan or credit card equally. Therefore, if your spouse or partner doesn’t pay his or her share of the debt, it will still impact your credit score negatively.

Child Support Orders Are Common

The legal parents of a child are required to contribute to that child’s best interests no matter what their relationship status is. Therefore, if your partner leaves you, he or she is obligated to pay support until that child is 18 or is otherwise not entitled to support anymore. In some cases, a support order may be granted as soon as the separation becomes official.

Spousal Support May Be Ordered

Whether you are in a marriage or a domestic partnership, the person who makes the most money may be responsible for paying spousal support to the other. This means that if you made less than your spouse or partner, you may be entitled to support for a limited time. The level of support that you receive may also be influenced by your ability to find a job or otherwise maintain a reasonable standard of living.

Courts Don’t Necessarily Need to Make a Ruling

If you and your partner can come to an agreement regarding child and spousal support on your own, it may not be necessary to go to court. This may be ideal because it takes less time, costs less money and may work to preserve the relationship. Those who need help negotiating an agreement may want to try mediation before settling their differences with litigation.

While a separation may not be as permanent as a divorce, it still carries many of the same legal responsibilities. Once you and your spouse or partner agree to a separation agreement, it will be written down and legally binding on all parties. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk with an attorney prior to signing off on any formal agreement.

The decision to get divorced can be highly complicated. Before a divorce takes place, the couple may choose to have a separation to see if divorce is ultimately the right path for them. A separation is both a legal decision and an emotional one. One of the most important and yet difficult aspects of any separation and divorce process are the financial aspects that may be involved. Each person in the marriage may have different ways of supporting themselves with different careers and jobs. One partner may be earning far more money than the other partner. The other partner in the marriage may devoted themselves to caring for the children of the marriage. When the separation starts, one partner may move out of the family house to a rental nearby or even an entirely different location. While this process continues, many people wonder if they are as yet entitled to access to any kind of financial support.

Varied Circumstances

After the completion of the divorce process, one half of the couple may be awarded primary child custody and spousal support. The amount of money being awarded will depend in specific circumstances including how much each party brought to table before they married. However, going through the process of divorce can take a lot of time to complete. In the meantime, the spouse who is separated may be facing mounting bills and may not have as yet the means to pay for them. In that case, it is possible for the person to be awarded funds from the other partner under certain circumstances even if the divorce is not yet finished. Multiple factors will play into this decision. That includes the number of children, any prenuptial agreement as well as the couple’s current lifestyle. The prenup may indicate exactly what the spouse is entitled to in the event of any kind of separation. However, if the couple’s financial circumstances have drastically changed, it may not necessarily apply right now.

Support for Children

In many cases, the decision to award support during this time begins by speaking directly to a law officer. One of the most important things to keep in mind that a parent is always required under all laws to support their children. If the separation means that a parent no longer lives at the family home, the judge may award temporary support to pay the rent and other expenses for the children right now even if the separation has just begun. During this time, the custodial parent can ask for child support to begin immediately.

Existing Lifestyle

Just as with a divorce, the person separated may also be able to petition to keep up their existing lifestyle. If one member of the partnership is currently pursing a graduate degree, that partner may be entitled to continue to have the other spouse help them pay tuition. The length of the marriage may also be taken into account during the separation. Couples who have been married over a decade or more may have established fiscal obligations such as a mortgage payment. A judge may order the spouse who’s moved out during the separation to continue to pay the mortgage and half of other bills such as food and medical bills. The same thing is true of other bills that have been held in common such as private school tuition, the payments on a second home and even care for a pet.

Changing Considerations

While financial support is often the norm during a separation, there are situations where it may not be used or may be reduced. If the person who is separated has taken up with a new relationship during this time, that may be taken into account. The other spouse may not be required to offer support if there’s another adult involved. If the spouse suffers a significant change in finances, this can also influence the amount of support offered or even if support is at all offered. Significant business losses may mean a corresponding drop in the partner’s ability to pay. Courts will recognize this and take this into account when deciding if spousal support should be offered during a separation. The same may be true if one partner finds a newer and better paying job or if they get an inheritance that is enough to pay their bills. It’s best to consult directly with an attorney directly. They can sort out any issues related to spousal support during a separation.



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