Is it possible to decide on child custody and have it entered as a court order without getting a divorce?
This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide any legal advice on divorce on the child custody laws in other states.
The short answer to the question is yes. You can file a Petition for Legal Separation and ask the court to declare you and your spouse legally separated.
With the legal separation, the court will implement a child custody and visitation schedule to which the parties must adhere.
Additionally, the court will order the non-custodial parent to pay child support. The purpose of child support is to provide for the children as if the parties had not separated.
Child support is heavily regulated. Each state has its own standards and guidelines that vary from state to state.
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Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and legal advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney.