Legal separation is an option for Texas couples who are either preparing for divorce or aren’t ready to divorce quite yet. Legal separation takes all the steps to separate you from your spouse without finalizing the divorce process.
What does a legal separation entail?
To get legally separated in a court of law, a petition must be filed with the Family Division court in your county. A legal separation will address:
- Finances and assets
- Who gets custody of the children and when
- Alimony and child support orders
A legal separation addresses all the same things as a divorce does, but the spouse may not take back their maiden name. In many cases, a divorce costs the same as a legal separation.
Why choose a legal separation over a divorce?
Some people choose a legal separation over a divorce due to religious beliefs or financial circumstances. In some cases, legal separation means that one spouse gets to keep the other’s health insurance benefits, if only for a limited time.
They also might want to stay married to maintain appearances for family members or children, despite living apart. Legal separation makes it a little easier to reunite if the couple decides to at a later date.
What if you decide to file for a divorce?
Filing for a divorce after a legal separation might make the actual divorce easier. At that point, it’s just a matter of signing the paperwork to say that you’re not married anymore.
Some states have rules that you cannot divorce without being separated for a year. Separation can be formal, severing all ties legally, or informal where you just live apart. It’s important to consider your relationship and finances to see what type of separation will work best for you.