Legal separation is an order from the court that can decide issues of property, debt, custody, parenting time, and support even though the parties are still legally married.
Child and Spousal Support
Child Support is money regularly paid by a parent to help support a child. The court can order child support to be paid until a child is 18, and in some instances, until a child turns 21. Child support can be ordered as part of a separation. Oregon has guidelines for calculation of support. The guidelines consider many factors, including but not limited to, income of the parents, cost of childcare, and number of children. You may request assistance from the Division of Child Support by calling 800.850.0228, or visiting their web site or from the Family Law Assistance Program.
Spousal Support is money paid by one spouse to support the other. The money can be paid in installments or all at once. Spousal support can be ordered as part of a legal separation case. There are three different types of spousal support, and more than one type can be ordered in a case. Transitional support helps a spouse get an education or training to re-enter or advance in the workforce. Compensatory support reimburses a spouse for contributions to the education, career or earning capacity of the other spouse. Spousal maintenance maintains a similar standard of living to that of the marriage. The Oregon Child Support Program (800.850.0228) may help you collect spousal support if you already have an order and child support is also being collected.
Custody and Parenting Time (Visitation)
Court-ordered child custody determines who has the legal responsibility to care for and make decisions about a child. Custody can be decided in a legal separation. There are different types of custody arrangements. Sole custody is when one parent has sole authority to make all decisions regarding the child's upbringing. A parent with sole custody is free to consult with the other parent regarding those decisions, but the final say regarding such decisions rests with the custodial parent. Joint custody is when both parents share the responsibility and have authority to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing. Joint custody does not necessarily mean that the child lives with each parent an equal amount of time.
Parenting Time (Visitation) is the time the non-custodial parent spends with a child. Parenting plans must set forth a minimum amount of parenting time for the parent who does not have custody. Parenting time can be restricted or denied by a judge if the parenting time would place the child in danger, or if the judge decides that restriction or denial is in the child's best interest. Mediation will be ordered by a judge if the parents can't agree on custody and parenting time. If parents cannot come to an agreement in mediation on custody and parenting time, a judge will hear both sides and decide what is best for the child.
Legal Separation With Children
A judgment of separation keeps intact a valid marriage but allows the parties to live apart, and may divide the parties' property, determine who owes debts, establish a parenting plan if there are children, and determine spousal and child support.
Legal Separation Without Children
A judgment of separation keeps intact a valid marriage but allows the parties to live apart, and may divide that parties' property, determine who owes debts, and determine spousal and child support.