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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.