Did You Know Couples Cannot Legally Separate in TX?

Many married couples want to live apart and work on their marriage rather than get a divorce. However, that is not possible in Texas. Read on to discover your other options.

When a marriage is not going the right way, many couples opt for divorce. However, some agree to a legal separation if they think they can work things out. Some couples also opt for legal separation due to religious reasons, since divorce is sometimes frowned upon. Because a couple is considered to be still legally married, they can file jointly on tax returns and gain those benefits. Also, they can continue to receive health care coverage and Social Security, retirement and military benefits that they would not enjoy if they were divorced.

However, what many people might not know is that Texas does not recognize legal separation. Texas is just one of six states that does not—Florida, Georgia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi are the others.

So, if you live in Texas, what options do you have? You can still get a separation agreement. A separation agreement is similar to a legal separation. It is a contract that can address the same issues in a divorce, such as alimony, child custody, child support and asset division. If you do decide to get a divorce in the future, you can use this same agreement in your divorce, which will be a timesaver. However, you should not create this on your own. It is best to have this agreement drafted by a lawyer to make sure it is valid and legal. Such a document can be complicated, and any small error can have serious consequences.

A protective order may also be an option. While protective orders are typically granted to domestic violence victims, you can also obtain one if you want the same protections as a legal separation. These are especially helpful if you have children because these orders can dictate where the children will live, who will have custody, who gets to stay in the house and who has to leave. They can also be used to establish child support and alimony. However, these typically last for only two years.

Another option if you have children is to file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). This suit is a custody case only and does not mean the parties have divorced. It is used to gain access, possession or conservatorship of the child. You can use this even if you were never married to the child’s other parent.

Get Help with Your Separation by Contacting a Texas Divorce Attorney

Legal separation is not an option in Texas, but there are ways around that, so you do not have to get a divorce. Pearland divorce attorney John Powell III can help you understand your options, so you get the outcome you desire. We can help you protect your children, assets and other items of importance as you decide what to do next with your relationship. Fill out the online form or call (832) 850-6095 to schedule a consultation today.