Marriage doesn’t always work. When it doesn’t, your marital relationship can degrade to the point of contemplating divorce. If divorce has more than crossed your mind, legal separation may have as well. Legal separation can be an economical option for couples, while divorce may be the better option. Let’s take a brief look at the advantages and disadvantages of both legal separation and divorce depending upon your situation.
Some couples are able to maintain a healthy enough relationship to remain legally married while living separate lives especially when children are involved, and others may prefer to have a permanent separation through divorce. While many feel divorce can be costly and time-consuming, at Marx, Altman & Johnson we have dedicated our divorce attorney office to providing both a fast divorce as well as cheap divorce for our clients in Fort Worth, Keller, Haslet, Arlington, Dallas, Irving, and Plano.
However, legal separation is not an option in Texas. Unless you go through dissolution of marriage proceedings and obtain your final divorce decree, you are still married in the eyes of the law. The good news is that there are legal strategies to obtain an outcome that is similar in many ways. It is essential to consult with a Texas divorce lawyer who can assess your goals and help you achieve them, as you could put important rights at risk. You might also benefit from a summary of the laws, as well as information on financial factors when comparing legal separation and divorce.
Work-Arounds For Achieving Legal Separation In Texas
Texas State law may not recognize separation, but there are options for accomplishing the same goals. There are still legal requirements, so you do not sidestep the courtroom by moving forward with this non-divorce option. What you can do is resolve many of the same issues that arise in divorce, namely property division and spousal support. You may even address conservatorship, possession, access, and support for minor children, though always remember that the child’s best interests are paramount.
Options for achieving an arrangement that is akin to legal separation include:
- Temporary Orders: Once you file for divorce, you can obtain orders in connection with any issue relating to children or property before the court. If you can reach an agreement on asset division, spousal support, and care for children, the court can enter it as an official order that remains in effect until the divorce is finalized or the parties reconcile.
- Protective Orders: Commonly associated with domestic violence situations, you can file a petition for a protective order without filing for divorce. If a protective order is warranted, it may restrict a party from having contact with the victim spouse and children.
- Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR): This type of lawsuit is similar to legal separation, and it may be an option where you do not want to file for divorce to get a temporary order. You can file the SAPCR to request the court determine issues on custody, visitation, and support.
Financial Considerations On Separation Versus Divorce
Every case is unique, so it is not possible to know the exact financial benefits of legal separation or divorce. Some factors that impact cost include:
- Your Relationship with Your Spouse: Much of a legal separation is accomplished by agreement, so disputes increase costs.
- High Net Worth or Complicated Assets: Dividing property starts by classifying it as community or separate, then distributing it equitably between the parties. The legal issues and technicalities are complex when it comes to interests in a business, real estate holdings, trusts, and investment accounts.
- Extensive Debt: If you have incurred significant community debt, both parties remain obligated to creditors because you are not divorcing.
A Texas Divorce Attorney Can Assist With Legal Requirements
While you cannot obtain an exact dollar figure on whether legal separation or divorce is more financially sound, this information should help you understand the economic factors. If you are considering your options, you can benefit from consulting with our experienced lawyers at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC. For your convenience, we’ve made it possible to schedule a FREE initial consultation with one of our divorce attorneys at any of our offices in the following locations:
- Fort Worth
- Keller / Haslet
Once we’ve discussed and reviewed your circumstances, we can help you make informed choices regarding legal separation and divorce in Texas.