Fort Worth Legal Separation Attorney
Couples having relationship issues often turn to separation rather than immediately filing for divorce. For many couples, separation is enough, and spouses can happily remain married but live separately. For other couples, separation is a stepping stone along the road to an eventual divorce. Either way, since Texas law does not recognize “legal separation,” you may need the help of an attorney with creative legal solutions to affect your separation in a way that protects your rights.
The Fort Worth legal separation attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm can help you with issues of asset division, child custody, and child support during a separation case. We can also help set your case up to file an eventual divorce if that is the path you choose. For a free legal consultation, call our law offices today to learn more about separation in Texas and what to do next in your case. Call us at (817) 476-1797.
Filing for Legal Separation in Fort Worth, TX
In Texas, there is no official legal process for separation. Instead, couples either remain married or get divorced. In many cases, however, couples choose to live separately and apart while their marriage is still legally intact, and this is well within their rights to do. However, when you and your spouse step away from each other, whether you are getting divorced or not, there are many legal issues to handle regarding property and children.
Without an official legal process for separation, many of these issues are handled informally. However, this can cause arguments and even legal issues between spouses if they do not cooperate with an informal understanding about how to divide finances or child care responsibilities.
Instead, many couples seeking separation in Texas will need help from attorneys to form separation agreements – contracts that dictate each party’s rights and responsibilities during the separation.
Forming a Separation Agreement in Fort Worth, TX
A contract between two spouses can often help you handle many aspects of a Texas separation case that would be handled in other states’ official legal separation systems. A properly formed separation agreement is enforceable between spouses just like any other contract, and it can help you draw lines on property rights, child custody, child support, and other issues that could arise in a separation case.
Whether your separation is your final step in your relationship or you are using separation as a temporary solution before a final divorce, there will be many questions to answer about how you and your spouse intend to divide finances and child care. If you are living separately while you file a divorce case, many issues during separation could be thought of as temporary issues, but it is often still better to plan for a long-term separation in case things go wrong or you change your mind about divorce.
Some of the most important aspects of a separation agreement include the following:
- A clear statement of when the date of separation was
- Financial decisions about how to share property and income during the separation
- Clear statements about each party’s ability to date outside of the marriage
- Child custody decisions
- Child support decisions
Other complex terms might need to be added in cases where you have high assets that need to be divided or where you own property or businesses together. Talk to a lawyer about what terms to include in your separation agreement.
Legal Separation as a Step Toward Divorce in Fort Worth
If you are planning on getting divorced at the end of your separation, then you should begin planning for that. In Texas, no-fault divorces are allowed, which means that spouses can end their marriage legally and without too much of a waiting period. However, some couples choose to take things slowly, instead getting divorced based on the grounds of a 3-year separation. If you want to get divorced this way, then it is important to have a separation agreement that says when precisely your separation started. You will also need to manage assets and childcare during this 3-year period.
If you are planning on getting divorced later, your separation agreement can also act as a postnuptial agreement, dictating how a divorce will be resolved when the time comes.
Even if a couple is to live separately, they will still be legally married. It is important to protect yourself if you will be dating other people during this period, or else extramarital relations could turn into accusations of adultery – which are grounds for a fault divorce in Texas.
Legal Separation as a Final Decision in Texas
Some couples do not want to get divorced, whether that be for religious reasons, to maintain spousal benefits, or to collect disability or other benefits. Regardless of the purpose of the separation, it can be difficult to maintain a separation as a permanent solution while still remaining legally married.
Working with a lawyer, you can set up all the terms you need to manage how this process will work and what access and rights you will have to each other’s property, finances, etc. You will also be able to agree that extramarital relations are allowed if that is how you want to handle the separation.
It is important, however, to understand that your spouse might eventually want to file for divorce. If a separation agreement includes terms related to an eventual divorce, this can help smooth out any eventual issues there.
Call Our Fort Worth Legal Separation Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation
If you are seeking a legal separation in the Fort Worth area, The Queenan Law Firm’s Fort Worth legal separation lawyers can help explain how separation works under Texas law and begin negotiating your case and drafting the proper agreements. For a free legal consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.