I am currently legally separated and would like information on Obtaining a Child Support Order When Legally Separated in Orange County, is this possible?
FAQ: How do I obtain a Child Support Order When Legally Separated in California
Child support is necessary in California for parents who are not married or in a registered domestic partnership, or who cannot work out their own financial plan for a shared child. Usually, when the parents are not married or in a registered domestic partnership, obtaining a child support order is obvious. However, there are several other situations in which a child support order might be necessary or helpful.
When you are looking for a child support order in California, there are several specific family law cases in which you can ask for child support. In the case of a legal separation, the parents of the child are still married or in a registered domestic partnership, and the parents may request a child support order in the following situations.
• During a divorce, a legal separation or an annulment,
• During a domestic violence restraining order case,
• During a petition for the custody and support of minor children case,
• Through a case with your local child support agency.
If you have any of the above-mentioned cases open, you may request that a child support order be created as a part of the final judgment.
Even in the case that you are ALREADY LEGALLY SEPARATED, and your case has been closed without obtaining a child support order, you may still initiate a case to obtain child support. You simply need to initiate one of the above mentioned family law cases. Usually, you’ll need both a child custody and child support order. You may request either on your own from the court in a case called a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children, or, you may request that your local child support agency initiate a case for you.
How to Request a Child Support Order as Part of a Legal Separation (Or Another Family Law Case)
During a legal separation case in California, you may request a long-term child support order as part of your final judgment. You may also request a temporary child support order that lasts for the duration of your court case, so that prior to your final judgment, you can ensure that your children are provided for financially.
So, while your legal separation case is already open, you may simply request a child support order through the following process. Keep in mind that this process is only a guide, and that if you are considering requesting child support, it is always in your best interest and the best interest of your child for you to discuss your case with an attorney. A qualified family lawyer in the OC will be able to tell you exactly how the law applies to your case, and may provide additional insight that the Internet cannot.
You may also request that your local child support agency starts a case on your behalf. In this case, you will need to provide them with information, and the process they follow is similar to the one listed here.
To request child support on your own in California, the following steps can guide you.
Collect and fill out the appropriate forms. You’ll need the following:
• A Request for Order,
• An Income and Expense Declaration or a Financial Statement. The Financial Statement is a simpler form, but it can only be used in certain situations.
To ensure that you have selected the correct forms and that you have filled them out accurately and completely, it is best to check with a qualified lawyer or with the family law facilitator at your local court.
In addition to the original forms, you will need two copies: one for you and one for your child’s other spouse. The court will keep the original on file.
Once you file your forms with the clerk, you will receive your court date.
Serve the Other Parent
Every person has a right to know about legal cases pending against him or her. The court cannot legally grant your child support request without first allowing the other parent to present his or her side of the case. Therefore, it is necessary for you to serve your papers on the other parent.
To do this, you’ll need a person who is at least 18 years old and who is not involved in the case (this means someone other than you and your children) to deliver the papers that were filed with the court, in addition to a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order and an Income and Expense Declaration that have been left blank.
Once the other parent has been served, you need to file a Proof of Service with the court. This form is extremely important, and if you have an attorney, it is best to ask for help with this piece of the legal process.
Make sure that you attend your hearing. The judge will decide whether or not to award child support, which parent will pay, and the amount to be paid. Depending on the court, you or your attorney may need to prepare the order to be signed by the judge.
If the child support order was granted, both parents need to fill out a Child Support Case Registry Form. This confidential form will be filed with the State of California, but will not be kept on file in the court. The purpose of this form is to help with national enforcement of your child support order, and should be updated if any of the information it asks for changes.
How to Request a Child Support Order After a Legal Separation
If you do not have an open case, for example, if you are already legally separated and wish to add a child support order after the fact, you will need to start a family law case. You may do so through the following cases:
If domestic violence is an issue, it is best that you contact the authorities and an attorney as soon as possible. Get yourself and your children to a safe place.
If domestic violence is not an issue, and you are not ready for a divorce, you can choose to petition the court for custody and support of minor children on your own, or with the help of your local child support agency. These cases will allow you to obtain the necessary child related family law orders without going through a divorce.
The process is similar to the one listed above, however you will need different forms.
• A Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children,
• A Summons,
• A Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act,
• An Income and Expense Declaration, or a Financial Statement
You’ll need to file the same forms and follow the same processes that are listed under How to Request a Child Support Order as Part of a Legal Separation (Or Another Family Law Case) above. You may file all the forms at once and serve them on your spouse together if you wish to simplify the process.
What If My Spouse or Partner and I Agree on Child Support After a Legal Separation?
If you and your spouse agree on a child support plan, it is still a good idea to have a legal child support order in place because only a court order that has been signed by the judge is legally enforceable.
To create a legal court order, you’ll need to first determine what the California guideline amount would be. Ask an attorney or your family law facilitator for assistance. You may find estimations online if you are willing to enter certain financial information into an online child support calculator.
Once you and your spouse have agreed, you’ll need to write up a child support agreement. Make sure that you consider all expenses, including health care costs, insurance costs, educational costs, and extracurricular activities.
You’ll need a form called Stipulation to Establish or Modify Child Support and Order. Attach both your written agreement and the calculation you used to come up with the amount. Make sure that you have both signed the Stipulation, and by doing so, be aware that you are signing an agreement to pay child support even if the judge orders a different amount than you and your spouse have agreed on.
Submit your Stipulation to the court so that the judge may sign it if approved. Make sure to file a copy of the signed order withe the court.
California Child Support Lawyer helping families with their Child Support Order When Legally Separated
If you’re interested in obtaining a child support order without divorcing your child’s other parent, you may obtain a child support order during or following a legal separation. It is in your best interests to discuss your case with an attorney. At Yanez & Associates, we offer free initial consultations - contact us today to schedule yours.