Legal Separation in Texas

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There is no such thing as legal separation in Texas. The Texas statute does not recognize formal or informal separation agreement even if it is agreed upon and signed by both the parties. However, there are some options to assure a provision of legal separation for the couple, though with some different provisions. There is no step short of divorce and the couple must decide whether they want to remain married or want to get a divorce. This decision has to be made if they don't want to be in limbo about their marital status.

Steps to get a Divorce in Texas:

The Texas statute recognizes both no-fault and fault divorce. The no-fault divorce can be attained by citing 'irreconcilable differences' as the reason. Whereas, for a fault divorce, on of the following conditions has to be cited and proved in front of the judge.

These conditions are as follows:

  • Cruelty Physical abuse, denying the consummation of marriage or any other action which makes the other spouse feel threatened or unsafe.
  • Infidelity Sleeping around behind the back of the married partner, number of sexual and romantic liaisons with various partners amount to infidelity.
  • Conviction of Criminal Charges Conviction on the basis of felony, criminal charges, fraud or any other case can be a strong base for granting a divorce.
  • Abandonment Desertion of a spouse by another purposely amounts to abandonment and divorce is granted.
  • Separation Husband and wife staying apart for a long period of time due to desertion, abandonment or any other reason accounts for a divorce to be granted.
  • Mental Instability Mental instability to lead a normal life and other spouse being in constant danger of being attacked in a violent phase is a reason good enough to get a divorce in Texas.
However, all these charges need to be proved in front of the judge.

There are three steps to get a divorce in Texas. These steps are as follows:

  • SAPCR Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR) includes all the arrangements regarding the childcare. These include child custody, the visitation rights of a non-custodial parent, determining the amount of child support and the payment of child support.
  • Property Division In Texas, every kind of property is considered as marital or community property and it is equally divided between the two conflicting parties. The real estate, investment plans, retirement plans, individual salary, place of residence is all equally divided between the partners.
  • Termination of Marriage After the SAPCR and the property division is decided upon the court serves a termination of marriage notice to both the spouses and the divorce is granted. A residence requirement of six months is necessary to file for a divorce in Texas.
Ways of attaining a legal separation in Texas:

There are various types of legal separation in Texas. These types are as follows:

  • Informal Separation An informal separation can be done without the help from the attorneys by the mutual consent of the husband ad the wife. The couple comes to an agreement and jots down the points. The document is then signed by both the parties and the copies are retained by both the parties.
    The informal separation can also be done with the help of the lawyer, but there is little he / she can do to protect your assets as the statute of Texas does not recognize an informal separation.
  • Partition and Exchange Agreement Another form of an informal separation is known as partition and exchange agreement. Spouses come to a mutual agreement regarding the property division and the custody and visitation rights as well as the child support. A statement is prepared and changes are made in the official records accordingly.
    However, this is a risky way because if the couple files for a divorce eventually, the property is again divided by the court considering it as a community property.
  • Temporary Orders A couple files for SAPCR and Property Division without the plea for the termination of marriage. The court grants these two pleas and the childcare and property division is done according to the laws of the Texas statute. The couple remains legally married and yet can lead separate lives an move on.
    However, if they were to file a divorce later, both the lawsuits have to be refiled and that is where the court discards previous judgments and goes for an equal distribution of property and changes the previous judgment about child support and custody. That is why, this option is known as temporary orders.
  • Contractual Separation A contractual separation is the formal separation agreement granted by the court on the lines of temporary orders. This contractual separation resolves all the property related issues as well as other issues such as alimony, spousal support, childcare, child custody and visitation and child support but does not terminate the marriage rendering the couple legally married but leading separate lives with the property and other issues ion their place.

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