Is There Such a Thing as Legal Separation in Texas?


One question that family law attorneys in San Antonio and throughout Texas are often asked is whether there is such a thing as legal separation in Texas. Simply put, the answer is no.

Texas is one of the few states that does not recognize legal separation. The other states that do not recognize a legal separation as an alternative to divorce, are Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Some couples in other states who, for whatever reason, feel that they can no longer live together but do not want a divorce can petition to the court to recognize documentation supporting the fact that they are legally separated.

Generally speaking, the documentation is a legal separation agreement executed by the parties, which specifies child custody and support issues, alimony, housing and other matters very similar to a divorce decree. Once this is all reduced to writing and agreed upon, it is submitted to the court for approval.

In Texas, the only process available for separating from a spouse is divorce. The only real difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that a divorce terminates the marital relationship. A couple who enters into a legal separation agreement is not terminating their marriage relationship. However, in each scenario the court will establish the rights and duties of the spouses, financial obligations, custody and support, visitation, medical benefits, insurance, distribution of marital property and spousal support.

Proponents of legal separations and the states recognizing them say that the separation process gives couples time to decide whether they really want a divorce to officially terminate their marriage. It is pointed out that the legal separation provides time apart to reflect on whether they want a divorce, to attend counseling, to recover from indiscretions and attempt to reconnect to get their marriage stabilized.

Whatever your family law issues are, you need to seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling all types of family law matters.

Allan R. Manka has been practicing family law in the San Antonio area for nearly 40 years. He proudly represents the servicemen and servicewomen at Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases in our area, as well as clients in all surrounding counties and throughout South Texas.

Contact us for a no obligation consultation to discuss your particular case. Mr. Manka has various methods of payment that will allow you to have the best representation possible, without destroying your budget.

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