If you are experiencing relationship difficulties that leave you unsure about your marriage, you are going through a difficult time (Can your marriage be saved?). Some couples who are not prepared to move forward with divorce try separation instead. If you are considering separating from your spouse, a separation agreement is a useful tool. Texas does not recognize legal separations (unless you have already filed for divorce), so formulating an agreement between yourselves can offer protections and provide structure to your separation. 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.
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:
- 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.
Separations are hard on everyone, and you naturally want to make it as easy for your children as you possibly can. Many parents get creative with their scheduling. 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:
- 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 behalves (usually both parents share this right and responsibility)
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 and include these in your separation agreement. 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
If you are considering a separation, a separation agreement is likely in you 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 or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.