The state of Texas does not have legal separation. However, many couples separate – and remain separated – for some time before they officially divorce. During this period, couples are still legally married, even if they do not live together and may have no interaction.
The nature of this situation can give rise to misguided assumptions and confusion that can make the divorce process more complicated. Thus, it can be crucial to avoid the following missteps if you are separated and heading for divorce.
In other states, property accumulated or lost during a period of separation may be treated as separate property. However, that is not the case in Texas. Because there is no legal separation, everything each spouse earns or spends while married is community property, even when spouses do not live together.
Thus, a few financial mistakes to avoid can include:
- Reckless spending
- Buying property assuming it will stay with you in a divorce
- Neglecting bill and mortgage payment
Because parties are still legally married until they divorce, both parents still have rights when they separate. During your separation, you should not:
- Keep your child from seeing the other parent
- Attempt to turn a child against the other parent
- Stop paying for the things your child needs
These mistakes could jeopardize your parenting rights and custody in the future, so it is wise to avoid them. One solution that can be helpful in this situation is to seek a separation agreement, which can legally establish possession and support.
Ending a marriage is an emotional, upsetting process. Because of this, you may end up in some regrettable or compromising positions during a separation that could adversely affect you in a divorce.
Some examples of personal missteps to avoid might include:
- Getting into a new relationship
- Engaging in reckless, dangerous behaviors
- Failing to set healthy boundaries with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse
Again, you are legally married in Texas until you divorce, which means you are not a single person during separation: you are still a spouse. And these actions could reflect poorly on you in future legal proceedings.
The time between a breakup and getting divorced is a thorny period, but avoiding these mistakes can make it easier to navigate a divorce when the time comes.