Legal separation refers to the process whereby couples are living physically apart and the courts have the ability to make rulings regarding martial matters prior to divorce. The State of Texas does not allow or recognize legal separations.
Temporary Agreements During a Pending Divorce
Legal separations may not be valid in Texas, but couples can enter a mutual agreement that deals with the important marital issues. In Texas, a couple cannot solidify a temporary court agreement until they have actually filed for divorce. After one party has filed for divorce, the couple can draw up a temporary settlement agreement and then give it to the courts for approval.
A temporary order can detail how the couple will handle the important factors that come with a divorce, including:
- child support (how much, how often);
- spousal support (amount and duration, or a voluntary relinquishment of rights to alimony); and
- property division (how to handle the marital home, retirement plans, bank accounts, vehicles, and other debts and assets).
Temporary agreements are very instrumental in helping couples deal with significant matters while awaiting their divorce decree. It’s important to be satisfied with the terms of the agreement because once signed by the judge, it is legally binding.
Filing a Partition and Exchange Agreement
If a couple wants to live apart and have separate property, yet don’t actually want to file for divorce, Texas allows for a mechanism referred to as a partition and exchange agreement. This an agreement that outlines how the couples wishes to divide their property, which is then filed with the official real property records.
This agreement serves as one method of keeping each spouse’s finances separate until either they divorce or decide to reconcile and withdraw the partition and exchange agreement.
Determining if Divorce is the Right Option
If you are contemplating filing for divorce, ensure that this is really something you want to do. Have you tried marital counseling? Is reconciliation possible? Have you considered the negative repercussions of a divorce?
If you are certain that your marriage is irretrievably broken, consult a local divorce attorney and begin looking at your options. Some couples are able to handle their divorce relatively quickly and incur fewer fees through an uncontested divorce. Only couples who can agree on all the issues will want to use this option.
When you work with a lawyer, he or she will be able to:
- explain the divorce process to you;
- take steps to protect your and your children’s best interests;
- write up temporary agreements while separated;
- file the necessary paperwork with the court;
- explain the state’s guidelines on child support;
- devise parenting plans; and
- offer counsel on dividing martial property.
Refer Texas Divorce Questions to Warren & Migliaccio
For help in any area of family law call Warren & Migliaccio in Dallas:
- child support;
- settlement agreements;
- temporary separation agreements; or
- filing for divorce.
When you call, we’ll schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and determine how we may be of service to you. Contact us today at 888-584-9614.