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Difference Between Separation and Divorce in Texas

What’s the Difference Between Separation and Divorce?

Are you thinking about getting a divorce, but you want to know what your options are before making your first move?

Either you or your spouse can initiate a divorce or separation, but it’s important to know the difference between the two because of different meanings and potential outcomes. Keep reading for more information about the differences between separation and divorce.

What is Separation?

Even if you are separated from your spouse, you’re still legally married to them. Unlike a few other states, Texas does not offer the option to legally separate from your spouse. Although courts don’t recognize separation as a formal legal process, they still allow you to take steps towards divorce.

You can initiate a separation at any time. During the separation period, you and your spouse can live separately from one another while remaining married.

How Long Do Separations Last?

Separation can last as long as you and your spouse see fit to resolve your issues and/or prepare to file for divorce. If you choose to permanently separate, during this time you can take the first steps towards getting a divorce.

Steps to Take During the Separation Period

Although legal separation isn’t a formal legal process in Texas, courts still give you the opportunity to make agreements with your ex. Some family law attorneys, like ours at Bobby Dale Barina, Attorney At Law suggest that you begin the divorce process while you are separated. Doing this can give your divorce attorney ample time to prepare and file paperwork for things like:

  • Property division

  • Child custody and visitation

  • Child support

  • Spousal maintenance

A separation agreement doesn’t have the same legal impact as a divorce. Meaning, even if you do separate, your spouse still has the same rights to your marital property and children as if you weren’t separated.

If you would like to completely detach yourself from your relationship, hiring a divorce attorney to file your divorce paperwork is the best option.

What is Divorce?

The process of divorce is different from separating from your spouse. With a divorce, you are filing a petition to legally terminate your marriage.

In a divorce, similar to a separation, either you or your spouse can file for a divorce. However, before any real legal action can be taken towards the divorce, you would need to meet residency requirements for Texas.

To file for divorce, you would have to have lived in Texas for at least six consecutive months. You or your spouse would also have to be a resident of the county where you’re filing your divorce paperwork for at least 90 days.

What are the Grounds for Divorce?

Texas is a no-fault divorce state. This means you don’t need to prove a fault or that your spouse did anything wrong to get divorced.

While there’s no need to prove fault in your divorce, if you feel your spouse did something that should be acknowledged by the court, a judge may take it into consideration. There are grounds for divorce that may be considered like:

  • Cruel treatment from your spouse.

  • Adultery — your spouse cheated.

  • Your spouse abandoned you.

  • Your spouse was incarcerated for more than a year.

If you chose not to separate before filing for a divorce, your attorney can help you file paperwork for other issues like property division, child support, spousal support, and child custody.

If you’re separated and want to get a divorce, it’s important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney before filing.

Temple, TX Divorce Attorney Bobby Dale Barina

Our attorney, Bobby Dale Barina, is dedicated to helping educate families about the impact of separation and divorce. Bobby assists families daily and is familiar with the local court system.

If you have any questions or would like to begin divorce paperwork, contact us today at (254) 523-4446 to schedule a consultation!