Austin Legal Separation Lawyers
Many times, a couple may go into a divorce unsure of what to expect and often even unsure that a divorce is the right choice. You know that you need separation from your spouse, but you do not know if you want the permanence of a divorce. As a solution in many states, courts allow couples to file for legal separation. This gives spouses the same rights and divisions of a divorce, without actually terminating the marriage. Unfortunately, the state of Texas does not recognize legal separation, and will not allow it is a means of separation recognized by the court.
If you and your spouse are looking to separate in Texas, but do not want a divorce, you still have many options. If you agree on the financial, parental, and property division aspects that go along with divorce, this could even be easy for you; you can just live separately and follow the plan that you both agree on. However, if you are not set on these aspects, an easy solution is not going to be the case. If a disagreement arises and one of you wants to change the plan, you are not protected by a legally binding contract and you cannot be justified in court. A qualified family law attorney knows all of the options a couple has when it comes to separation. The attorneys at the Kirker Davis LLP have been operating in Austin family law for years. They are devoted to helping clients figure out which separation option is the best for their own personal circumstances
Separation Options in Texas
Discussing all of your separation options with a knowledgeable family law attorney will give you a better idea of what is right for you. With that being said, there are a few actions that are common in couples that are looking to separate without a divorce. These actions will allow you to separate from your spouse financially, plan co-parenting roles, and live separately, while still keeping the legal marriage intact. To achieve this, you may be able to do one of the following:
- Get a contractual separation: like with any business, trade, or transaction, you can create a legally binding contract for your separation. This works a lot like the postnuptial agreement you would make during a divorce, just without the divorce. Unlike a divorce contract, your separation contract will not be reviewed or approved by a judge. Instead, if a disagreement or breach of contract arises, you may engage in a civil court lawsuit like you would with any other contract.
- Request a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) order: if you have a child or children under the age of 18, agreeing on a parenting plan is important in implementing a separation. After you have decided on a plan, you should follow up with an SAPCR order request. Under this order, your parenting plan will be reviewed and approved by a family court. If you cannot agree on certain aspects, the court will help in deciding. The court will then issue an SAPCR order that legally governs parental aspects such as child custody, support, and visitation.
- Create a partition and exchange agreement: this agreement acts as a more formal financial separation. Because any property acquired during a marriage is considered joint property in Texas, separating your financial and property assets is vital. A partition and exchange agreement allows each spouse to transfer marital property, or a portion of it, to the other spouse so that they can gain a controlling ownership interest and so that the property is treated as separate property. The agreement must be signed by both parties and recorded in the county where the property is located and the county where the married couple last resided. If you reconcile your marriage in the future, this agreement must be undone.
If you are interested in any of these actions as an option for separation, contact a family law attorney. They will be able to tell you what is required to achieve these actions, and what to expect after they are enacted.
Contact an Austin Family Law Attorney
If you and your spouse are considering your separation options, contact an attorney at the Kirker Davis LLP. Our lawyers want to look out for you and your rights as an individual. Knowing your options will help you work through this difficult and confusing time. To learn more about our team, and discuss your case, contact our office at (512) 598-0010.