The Woodlands Separation Attorney Negotiates Formal Settlements
Though Texas doesn’t recognize legal separation, agreement is possible
In many states, married couples can sue for legal separation rather than divorce. This affords many of the legal protections of divorce, such as child custody and support, to spouses who either have a moral objection to divorce or are not ready to completely dissolve their marriage. Texas, however, does not recognize legal separation. In Texas, married couples who want to live apart must enter into a contractual separation. At the Law Office of Jerry Porter, we work with clients to determine whether separation is appropriate for their circumstances. After more than 30 years of practice, I strongly recommend that, if couples choose to live separately, they take the steps to formalize their separation and establish their rights with regards to their children and their property.
Obtaining legal protections through a contractual separation
Many couples suspect that their relationship is irretrievably broken, but aren’t ready or able to file for divorce. Some factors that prevent spouses from divorcing are:
- Uncertainty that the marriage is over
- Religious objections to divorce
- Reliance on spouse’s employee benefits, such as healthcare
- Need to remain married long enough to qualify for military benefits
But even in a state that does not recognize legal separation, married couples are free to contract about issues connected to their relationship. Couples often execute postnuptial agreements, known as partition agreements in Texas, stating how child custody and property division should be handled in the event of divorce.
Like a partition agreement, a contractual separation agreement divides property and settles issues surrounding your children. It can also include contractual alimony. The only caveat is that parents cannot contract to eliminate child support, since that right belongs to the children, not the parents. I have vast experience negotiating marital settlement agreements for separating and divorcing couples. I provide the knowledgeable assistance my clients need to get the job done right.
Obtaining temporary order by filing for divorce
If you can’t get your spouse to negotiate a contract, you can get limited support from the court. When a petitioner files for divorce, the court issues temporary orders on the additional issues: property division, child support, child custody and spousal maintenance. If you file for divorce, you can obtain an enforceable temporary order. If you do not follow through with the divorce, this order will eventually lapse, and you’ll need to decide on a permanent solution that protects your rights.
Contact a family law attorney in The Woodlands for advice on contractual separation
Even though Texas does not recognize legal separation, you can protect your rights while you live apart from your spouse. In more than 30 years of practice, I have helped clients in The Woodlands, Montgomery County and throughout the greater Houston area negotiate marital settlement agreements and contractual separation agreements. To schedule a consultation, call 281.296.3131 or contact the Law Office of Jerry Porter online.