Legal separation is available in almost all states, but not in Texas. What are your options?
There are many reasons to divorce. Perhaps your spouse is abusive. Maybe your spouse no longer wants to make an effort to improve the marriage. Perhaps there has been infidelity or significant financial issues. Maybe you and the children are stressed and you just want to move on.
Maybe you do not want to divorce. Maybe you would rather have a legal separation. A legal separation has some benefits. It allows you to live apart from your spouse so you both have time and space to work on your issues. Divorce is sometimes frowned upon in certain religions and cultures, so a legal separation is the next best thing.
A legal separation means that a couple is still legally married and being married has benefits. You can continue to file jointly on tax returns. You can maintain your health care coverage. You can also receive your spouse’s Social Security, retirement, and military benefits.
That all sounds great, but there is just one problem: Texas does not recognize legal separation. This may be surprising to you because most states do recognize it. Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, and Mississippi are the only six states that do not.
What are Your Options?
So, what happens now? Is it either stay married or get divorced? There are some ways to be separated without going through the hassle of a divorce. One common option is a separation agreement. A separation agreement is similar to a legal separation, but it is not legalized. It is a contract between you and your spouse that can address the same issues in a divorce, such as asset divorce and alimony. If you have children, it also outlines child custody and child support.
You can opt for a temporary, trial separation, or a permanent one. Keep in mind that neither are legally recognized in Texas. Therefore, if one spouse does not uphold his or her end of the agreement, you cannot go to court and have a judge make a decision. You will need to work things out with your lawyer. Also, because you are considered to still be married, you cannot marry someone else while you are separated.
If you decide on a separation agreement, make sure to involve a lawyer. This document requires the right legal language. Even the smallest mistake can have negative consequences, so you do not want to take a chance.
There are other options available to get the outcome you seek. Contact a lawyer to learn more.
Contact an Austin, TX Family Law Attorney Today
While legal separations are not recognized in Texas, there are ways to go around this and get the outcome you desire without divorcing.
The Austin, TX family law attorneys at Scott M. Brown & Associates can help you understand your options. We have your family’s best interests in mind. We will work to create a personalized approach for your unique situation. Schedule a consultation, by calling our office at (281) 612-7994 or filling out the online form.