Divorces can take a long time to finalize. Some settle quickly, but most take a year or even longer. During that period, married couples are not expected to act married or even live together. By the time a couple has filed for divorce, the wheels have already been set in motion.
In other marriages, separation acts as a time for the couple to reflect on their relationship. One or the other spouse may be going through a particularly difficult time. Maybe he or she is drinking too much, or maybe they’re waging a battle against some other addiction. Perhaps finances have driven a wedge between two people who would otherwise be happy together.
For whatever reason, when a couple feels as though they’re better off living in their own separate spaces, the law provides a vehicle for them to do so: legal separation. While the concept of legal separation in Texas is not recognized as such, couples still may require rulings from the court on matters of custody or property division.
A Texas Divorce Lawyer Can Provide Legal Guidance
Angela Faye Brown & Associates has helped several Texas parents manage their divorces and periods of separation, advocating both on behalf of parents and children. If your marriage is going through a difficult period, call us for a consultation today.
How the Courts Manage Legal Separation in Texas
Texas courts do not recognize legal separation per se, but they do allow couples to make temporary agreements while they’re living apart. In addition, couples can file temporary orders while their divorce is being finalized. These orders designate necessary arrangements between two people who have mutual interests but no longer live together. This can include primary custody of children, visitation, and distribution of property.
Temporary orders can cover a specific period of time and terminate on a fixed date, or they operate indefinitely until both parents settle into a new rhythm. That depends entirely on the couple’s needs.
Even in situations in which the couple doesn’t truly intend to divorce, they simply need time apart, a lawyer can help one party draft a contractual agreement that designates important responsibilities.
This process includes drafting documents that you then file with the court.
What kinds of documents do separated parents typically file?
- Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)
- A Community Property Division Agreement
- Partition and Exchange Agreement
You can file these in lieu of a divorce. Typically, the process of divorce manages to some extent all three of these.
Drafting an Informal Agreement
When a couple intends on divorcing, informal agreements act as placeholders for the final agreement that the divorce produces. When a couple separates for other reasons, these agreements are active while the couple is living apart.
If you want to establish such an agreement that has the force of the law behind it, you will need to enlist the aid of an attorney. An attorney can take you through the process, help you draft the agreement, and then file it with the court.
The documents can handle everything from the division of minor property to custody arrangements. While separated couples can make agreements on their own, it’s important to remember that if the court doesn’t legitimize these agreements, then they you can’t enforce them either.
Once a Texas judge signs these documents, they become legally binding. If either party breaks the agreement, the law can hold them responsible.
Contact a Family Law Attorney Today
If your relationship is going through a difficult period, or you’re awaiting the finalization of your divorce, the family law attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates can help you draft and file these important legal documents for your legal separation in Texas. Call us today.