If you and your spouse are no longer happy together, but you’re not quite ready for a divorce, you might be thinking about legal separation. What is a legal separation in Texas? This is a status that many states recognize, but not all.
Can You File for Legal Separation in Texas?
So, is there legal separation in Texas? The answer is no. Texas legal separation laws don’t exist because Texas Courts do not recognize this status. However, this does not mean you have to choose to either live with your spouse forever or get divorced. You can still separate for as long as you would like, but the law won’t reflect this decision.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you and your spouse can come to an agreement on your finances, children and other topics when you’re not legally separated but living apart. Here’s what to consider when you’re thinking about getting legally separated in Texas.
How to File for Legal Separation in Texas
Filing for legal separation in Texas isn’t possible, since Texas legal separation laws don’t technically exist. So what does this mean for you if you just want a break from your spouse? One answer is that you could just separate for a short period of time without getting the law involved. This means simply living apart for as long as you need to before deciding whether to move back in together or get a divorce. If you can come to an agreement regarding how you will pay your shared bills and who the children will live with, a temporary informal separation may work for you.
If you feel confident you will not want to reconcile with your spouse after separating, you might consider filing for divorce in Texas. This is the closest way to figuring out how to file for legal separation in Texas, since it’s the only method you can use to get the courts involved as you determine child custody, calculate child support, settle upon property division, and more. This is why when it comes to legal separation vs. divorce, Texas couples don’t have a choice if they want to involve the courts. If divorce sounds like the best alternative to being legally separated in Texas, contact the Houston divorce attorneys at the Moffett Law Firm for legal guidance.
How Does an Informal Separation Work in Texas?
There might not be a Texas separation law on the books, but you can still separate from your spouse without committing to a divorce right now. Many couples interested in finding out how to file for separation in Texas end up simply getting an informal separation.
Sometimes you just need a little space from your spouse, giving both of you time to decide if you want to get a divorce or stay together. Since filing for separation in Texas isn’t exactly possible, you’re not required to talk to a lawyer before you take this step.
However, there is one reason you might benefit from some legal guidance, and that’s if you need help coming to an agreement about your marital property. If you need assistance dividing your property, you can talk to a Houston property division attorney at the Moffett Law Firm about signing a partition and exchange agreement. This is a way to transfer marital property to your spouse so it is legally his or hers instead of both of yours.
As long as you and your spouse can agree on how to divide your property, you won’t have to argue about this topic during your separation, or during your divorce if you decide on that in the future. Just note that the partition and exchange agreement does get recorded in county records, so if you decide to stay in the marriage, you have to remember to undo the agreement. Otherwise, it will remain in effect, which might be a surprise you only notice once your spouse passes away or you file for divorce eventually.
Final Thoughts on How to Handle Separation in Texas
Basically, there is not a legal process for dealing with separation in Texas. But you can still move out and live separately from your spouse for as long as you need before you determine the future of your marriage. For some couples, informal separation is just what they need to decide that they are better off apart and would benefit from divorce. For others, they realize staying married is the right option for them, and they never would have come to that conclusion without separating for a period of time.
Regardless of what you and your spouse decide as you look into the Texas legal separation laws, you should seek legal advice from Houston divorce attorneys as soon as possible. At the Moffett Law Firm, we can guide you through everything from the partition and exchange agreement to the divorce process, depending on what you decide is right for your marriage. And if you do get a divorce, you will need help with child custody, child support, spousal support and more.
Contact our Houston office today to discuss your legal options when it comes to separation or divorce in Texas.