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How are custody and child support handled in a legal separation?

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2023 | Child Custody, Child Support |

In California, not every couple who is experiencing challenges in their relationship will immediately choose to move forward with a divorce. In some cases, they either prefer a legal separation or are required to have a legal separation based on their residency in the state.

There are common concerns with this type of legal action instead of filing for divorce. In a divorce, children are a primary part of the case. That includes custody and support. When separating, there might be confusion regarding how this and other issues will be addressed. Knowing the details about a legal separation is key.

How the law addresses legal separations

People might want to get a legal separation because they are unsure if they are ready for a divorce. Separating without divorcing might give each side time to think about their situation and make an objective decision as to whether they want to try and salvage the marriage or a divorce is preferable.

In some instances, the couple does not immediately pursue a divorce because they have not been living in California long enough to file. To divorce, one spouse must have resided in the state for the previous six months and for a minimum of three months in the county in which they are filing. For many, the legal separation is a formality and they fully intend to divorce.

Regarding the other factors that arise in a divorce – child custody, child support, property division and spousal support – these are handled in a similar way as a divorce. As part of the legal separation, the property will be divided, there will be a determination as to how debts will be paid, there can be a support order, the parents will have time with the child and the child will be supported.

People should know the details about a legal separation

During the turmoil of a marital dispute and fear about the future, a legal separation could be a viable option whether it is out of necessity or a preference to weigh options. Like a divorce, there are family law issues that need to be hashed out. It is essential to know how legal separation works and what the process is when going from a legal separation to a divorce.


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