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The Difference Between Separation & Divorce

Separation vs divorce paperwork

At a time when you and your spouse are at your most vulnerable, it can be daunting to begin the process of change. Whether you’re looking to dissolve the marriage or work things out down the road, choosing between a divorce and legal separation can make a huge difference in the future of your family unit.

What You Need To Know

From a distance, divorce and legal separation can seem surprisingly similar. Both allow you to remove yourself from the other’s household, property, and finances. Shared debt and marital assets are distributed between each party, and recurring payments for spousal and/or child support are decided upon by a court of law.

However, in the state of Texas, there are some legal limitations as to what you can and can’t do to end the marriage.

How Does Legal Separation Affect My Marriage?

Unlike that of divorce, legal separation prohibits either party from remarrying after the decision has been finalized. It is common for couples to seek this action if one is dependent upon the other’s medical insurance, or if their religion does not condone the act of divorce. Legal separation requires each party to equally divide the property that has been acquired throughout the duration of the marriage. Child custody and spousal support are also handled at this time.

As stated above, Texas follows a unique set of guidelines regarding family law, and therefore does not recognize legal separation as a valid form of terminating a marriage. However, there are still a few options that can be taken should you and your spouse choose against divorce.

Couples who are experiencing turbulence in their marriage, but are willing to come to a future compromise, will oftentimes seek to prepare a separation agreement or property partition. These are considered to be enforceable contracts within the state of Texas, despite not being legally signed by a judge.

If you’re interested in getting a separation agreement, our lawyers can help guide you through the legal process and prepare you for a smooth transition.

How To Get A Divorce In Texas

As the most common way to end a marriage, divorces take up the majority of separation cases across the nation. 

In order to file for divorce, you must first identify your grounds for petition, then choose between a mediation or trail. From there, you will settle on alimony (spousal support), division of property, custody, child support, visitation, and conservatorship.

Here in North Texas, completing a divorce requires two legal cases to be settled simultaneously:

  1. A Community Property Division
  2. A Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (i.e., SAPCR)

If you do not follow through with both documents, you and your spouse will remain married under Texas law.

Let Burrows Law Group Lead The Way

If you would like legal guidance or representation from a trusted attorney in North Texas, turn to the experts at Burrows Law Group. Our lawyers are board-certified family law specialists who are ready to help you get started on this new chapter in life.

Give us a call at 972-236-7798, or contact us here to set up a time to talk.