Financial Obligations During A Legal Separation

financial advice on divorceQuestion:

I am looking for legal separation advice for a unique situation where my wife and I are still living together, so I need financial advice on divorce.

We have decided to remain living together in the marital home for the sake of our children, but we are about to be legally separated.

Will I have to pay her child support and alimony during this period? What are my financial obligations to her and our children if I continue to pay the bills, mortgage, etc.? Please provide me with any separation advice for men you have.


I am unable to give you financial advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Michigan law where I am licensed to practice.

When one party files for a legal separation the action is treated much like a divorce proceeding. This means the assets and liabilities are usually separated and child support and alimony are usually set as well.

There will also usually be an order for child custody and parenting time entered with the court. With the limited facts that you provided, I can give you general information on how maintenance and child support are determined.

When looking at your marital estate the court will typically look at it as a whole. This means that the court’s job is to equitably divide the marital estate, at least in my state (Michigan), which is an equitable distribution state.

If you and your wife plan on continuing to live together this would significantly affect the amounts set for child support and spousal support.

Child support in Michigan is based upon the incomes of the parties and how many overnights each party has with the children. If you and your wife plan on continuing to live together during your legal separation, you both would obviously have the same amount of overnights and you both would theoretically be supporting your children together.

Without knowing what your income is, or your wife’s, it is hard to give you a definite answer, but it sounds like an order to maintain the status quo would be appropriate if you plan on continuing to live together.

A status quo order would require you both to continue to pay the marital bills and expenses as they were maintained during the marriage. However, if at any time you and your wife stop living together it would be appropriate for either of you to modify the status quo order and enter an alternative order.

Unlike child support, alimony is based upon a number of factors in Michigan. However, in your situation it seems very likely that you both plan on continuing to live together.

In that instance spousal support would also be significantly affected by your living situation. This is caused by the fact that your wife’s living expenses would be paid for. Therefore, her monthly expenses would be significantly decreased.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Kathryn Carruthers, an associate attorney in the Michigan offices, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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