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Texas Legal Separation
Legal Separation in Texas

Unlike most jurisdictions, Texas does not recognize legal separation, so an unhappy couple looking to live separate and apart must decide whether they want to divorce. Texas is a community property state, so maintaining separate domiciles, even if living apart, still means that everything is considered marital property and subject to distribution in a divorce.

An unhappy couple can enter into a contractual separation. As an alternative to filing for temporary orders, under this routine the married couple enters into a binding agreement resolving issues associated with the marriage but does not terminate the marriage. The couple separates their assets and debts, and makes provisions for their children so that they can live separately but remain married.

The court does not sign off on a contractual separation or issue any order in regard to the contract, but if one of the parties requires enforcement, a civil suit seeking an order of the court directing the other party to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement can be filed.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, which is intended to resolve property, debt and child related issues. This can be a very complex and detailed document depending upon the unique situation of the marriage. Many spouses consult an attorney to provide this or they decide to prepare their own.

Complaint

There is no complaint for a legal separation.

Initial Procedure

Spouses who want to separate can sign a separation agreement that is legally binding as a contract between them, particularly where it concerns property division, and the separation agreement can eventually serve as the basis for a divorce or annulment order under Texas Family Code Section 7.006.

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