What Is a Texas Separation Agreement?

A family photo torn in half symbolizing divorce

Updated on August 24, 2022

If you are experiencing relationship difficulties, it may leave you unsure about your marriage. Some couples who are not prepared to move forward with divorce try separation instead. It is important to recognize that, although separation is sometimes a stepping stone toward divorce, it can also help couples find their way back toward stronger marriages.

While many states have a separation requirement prior to divorce, the State of Texas has no such requirement. In fact, Texas does not recognize legal separations, so it is important to formulate an agreement between you and your spouse that can offer protections and provide structure to your separation.

The divorce process is complicated, and because the end results will directly affect your parental and financial rights into your future, you are well-advised to work closely with an experienced Florence divorce attorney from the outset. Contact a lawyer today to get the help you need.

Alternatives to Divorce

If you and your spouse are going through a difficult time in your marriage, divorce does not have to be the next step. You have options, including the following arrangements:

  • Temporary separation

  • Support groups

  • Marital counseling

  • Individual counseling

Many couples find that seeking help when experiencing marital problems ultimately brings them closer. If you believe a separation is in order, think of it not as a failure but as an important step you are implementing to help mend your marriage. A separation agreement can help pave the path forward.

The Advantages of a Pre-Divorce Separation

Those states that require pre-divorce separations do so for a reason—to allow the couple a bit of a reprieve. While some divorces are an inevitable end to a years-long build-up, others are the result of a dramatic and precipitous event that blows up into divorce.

In these latter situations, a separation can serve as a cooling-off period that allows the couple to weigh their options and to get a taste of what divorce is likely to mean for them personally.

Some couples find a way to patch things up, and others find the breathing room they need to work together in an effort to avoid outright contentiousness (or even to achieve amicability).

Your Children

Separations are hard on everyone, and you naturally want to make it as easy for your children as you possibly can. To this end, many parents get creative with their scheduling to help maintain the status quo for their children. For example, some children remain in the family home while their parents rotate back and forth individually.

Whatever scheduling works for you and your family, it is important to obtain an order granted by the court known as a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPR order) as part of your separation agreement. Your SAPR order is basically the equivalent of child custody arrangements in a divorce, and it provides you with similar protections.

SAPR orders can address a variety of issues related to your children and your separation, including the following decisions:

  • Where and with whom your children will live primarily

  • Their visitation schedule with the other parent

  • The amount of financial support the parent with the visitation schedule will provide the custodial parent

  • Who will make important decisions related to education, healthcare, and religious upbringing on the children’s behalf (Usually both parents share this right and responsibility.)

These arrangements can stay in place for as long as your version of a legal separation pends (and beyond, if you choose).

Financial Concerns

Living in two separate homes is naturally more costly than living in one family home, and a separation is bound to raise financial concerns. You and your spouse can make arrangements that work for you and your unique situation by means of a postnuptial agreement.

A postnuptial agreement is much like a prenuptial agreement, except the contract is executed while you are married. In your postnuptial agreement, you and your spouse can agree to an equitable division of your marital property that you are both willing to sign off on. Doing so helps ensure that you continue to adhere to these plans over time.

If You Are Considering a Separation, Consult with an Experienced Central Texas Divorce Lawyer Today

A separation can be an excellent stepping stone toward a divorce or reconciliation that allows you to turn down the heat, get your bearings, and make decisions that are right for you. If you are considering a separation, a separation agreement is likely in your and your children’s best interests.

Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas has the experience, dedication, and compassion to help you create a separation agreement that works for you and your children. Mr. Pritchard is here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 for more information.

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