Legal Separation can I get one in Texas?Recently no our legal forum a user asked, "I live in the State of Texas. I have been married to my husband for twenty-five years. He came home last night, told me he has a lover, and wants a separation. I am devastated. I do not believe in divorce, and I have some hope he might come to his senses in a few months. Is there a way to file for legal separation in Texas and financially protect myself while I give our marriage a second chance?"
Some people suggest living apart and separating for a few months before filing for divorce might be a good idea for some couples. For example, it might allow you to get marital counseling and potentially allow you and your husband to repair the damage caused by infidelity.
Legal separation options in Texas
Unfortunately, the State of Texas is one of five states including Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania that does not currently have any legal separation laws. This does not mean, however, that you and your spouse cannot work together to develop an informal separation agreement.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Now, in states which offer legal separation a couple can live apart but keep their marriage intact. Legal separation also allows the state's courts to define the responsibilities of each spouse in regards to child custody, division of property, and spousal support,
Additionally, separating rather than divorcing allows couples to keep certain benefits of the marriage, such as insurance. And after a legal separation is completed, this agreement can be easily converted to a divorce agreement if the couple finally decides to divorce.
What happens in Texas if you separate from your spouse?
What happens in Texas if you separate from your spouse? Unfortunately, it's not as simple as what's described above. In fact, if you have separated from your spouse in Texas there is not a legal distinction, and you might not be legally protected unless you take additional steps.
For example, you and your spouse would need to file for an informal separation, which includes filing a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) and a community property division case. After these cases have been filed, a contract exists which binds you and your spouse concerning issues of spousal support, child support, and child custody.
How will my assets be divided in Texas with a community property division case?
In the State of Texas, if you file a community property division case courts will use community property laws to determine how assets will be divided. Specifically, your community property assets such as stocks, bonds, real property, personal property, savings accounts, cars, retirement benefits, and 401(k) accounts will be divided evenly.
Keep in mind, however, if you and your spouse agree and do not want to have the court decide your property case you can always work together to establish a separate agreement for the division of your assets. This can be done through a Partition and Exchange Agreement. It's important, however, that if you do decide to make decisions on your own that you talk to a lawyer who can make sure your interests are protected.