Post Separation Support

Hello. My wife and I have been married for 18 months, and have one minor child between us as a result of the marriage. We separated at my decision the beginning of February 2016, and agreed on a jointly signed post-separation agreement in writing between the two of us. I am an active duty military servicemember, she has not worked since our marriage, despite having 2 Masters degrees, and being highly employable. I also have two step-sons from my wife’s prior marriage that were living with us prior to the separation. Will I be required to pay child support for the ongoing support of my step-sons prior to a final order of divorce-due to the common law in loco parentis doctrine? My wife receives monthly child support from the children’s biological father, and has done so throughout our marriage. Also-as I understand it would she be likely to obtain spousal support post divorce, due to our length of marriage (18 months prior to separation), and her high level of education and prior work experience? She has also thrown around the term of “abandonment” in terms of my decision to move out of the marital home, which I did after much forethought, and based on what I thought to be the best interests of my daughter from the marriage, and my step-sons, due to the toxic level of the marriage and frequent, intense verbal conflict. Thank you in advance.

Take a look at our article about child support and step parents to get an understanding of the ‘in loco parentis’ doctrine. This is a fact intensive analysis that will be dependent on the circumstance of your case.

As far as spousal support goes, she may have a claim for temporary postseparation support, but based on what you have shared she does not sound like a candidate for alimony. Her earning capacity and the length of the marriage will both impact any decision on spousal support.