San Antonio Separation Agreement Attorneys
Protecting your rights and assets during separation in South Texas
There may be situations where a couple does not want to stay together any longer, but for whatever reason is not ready to end their marriage. Although Texas does not offer or recognize legal separations, if you and your spouse do want to “separate,” you do have options available. Taking the proper legal precautions can help manage issues regarding alimony, child custody and support, and other important post-marital issues – without getting a divorce.
The San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC are well-versed in all family law matters, including separation agreements. When you cannot get a legal separation, we can prepare you and your spouse to live apart without filing for divorce. We ensure your financial protection, as well as that of your children, ensuring the right agreements are set in place. Find out how we can help you today.
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Can you get legally separated in Texas?
Texas does not recognize separation – in the eyes of the court, you and your spouse are either married or divorced. However, in the event you and your spouse do not want to divorce, you may want to look into an informal separation. Although many couples are tempted to make verbal agreements on how to handle things while separated, they have little recourse if they need any of these agreements enforced.
Do I have to get formally divorced to establish support and custody?
No. You and your spouse have several options to create arrangements regarding your children, as well as any necessary financial support. With the help of an attorney, you can submit documents to the court spelling out these agreements to ensure nothing is left to chance – as well as ensuring you have legal backup in the event something goes awry later down the road.
Why might I want a separation instead of a divorce?
Some spouses choose to live separate lives while remaining married. Common reasons couples may choose to separate include:
- Giving each other time apart to determine if they can resolve their differences and ultimately reconcile
- Defining the rights and responsibilities of each spouse regarding child custody arrangements, financial matters, and property division
- Allows spouses to retain certain marital benefits, like health insurance, disability, or military benefits
- Permits spouses to abide by certain religious beliefs and live apart while still remaining married
Are there options to legal separation?
Although you cannot get legally separated here in San Antonio and throughout the state, the law offers a few options that may result in a similar outcome. All of these can help protect your rights to financial support, visitation, and property without having to obtain a formal divorce. Some choices that may work for you include:
- Temporary orders. A temporary order can help you and your spouse determine child custody and support until the court issues your final divorce decree. These orders can spell out rules around visitation, financial support, asset and debt division, spousal support, and other matters surrounding your marital separation.
- Temporary restraining orders (TRO). These are emergency court orders used in situations when you believe your spouse may do something harmful before your divorce is settled. A TRO prevents an individual from taking actions like emptying a joint bank account, destroying marital property or assets, and things of that natures. **It is important to note that a TRO is not the same as a protective order, which is used in cases of family and domestic violence. If you are experiencing family violence, please call the National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotlineat 800-799-SAFE (7233) for help.**
- Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). A SAPCR is part of every divorce here in Texas. However, it is also an option for unmarried parents, or separated couples. Your SAPCR outlines the responsibilities of each parent, prioritizing the best interests of the child. An SAPCR is also enforceable through the court.
Another way to protect yourself, your children, and your assets while separated is through a separation agreement, which you can create with the help of an experienced family law attorney.
What is a separation agreement?
A separation agreement is a contract written and signed by spouses who no longer live together but are not officially divorced. This agreement outlines the responsibilities and rights of each spouse while they are informally separated, like spousal maintenance and child support. Separation agreements can help establish a variety of “ground rules” and protections while you and your spouse are apart, whether you intend the separation to be temporary or long-term.
It is important to put your separation agreement in writing and have it reviewed by an experienced attorney. The San Antonio lawyers at Grable Grimshaw PLLC are happy to help you with this.
What should I include in my separation agreement?
Your separation agreement should include a number of important provisions, including:
- Dealing with the family home. Consider who will live there, who will move out, if you will sell it and split the proceeds, or any other arrangement.
- How to split up property and assets. Otherwise known as property division, this process involves distribution of assets (and debts).
- Spousal maintenance. Sometimes called alimony, this is support one spouse pays the other until they become financially stable. Our attorneys can design an agreement that works for both you and your spouse.
- Child support, custody and visitation. Your separation agreement can also outline parenting time, schedules, and how to make important decisions about your children – including their health and education.
You may want to include other things in your agreement; especially if your separation is particularly acrimonious or complicated. Your family law attorney can provide guidance on the most important things to include in these types of documents.
Legal help with separation agreements in San Antonio
Even though Texas does not offer legal separation, it does not mean that you and your spouse do not have other options. The family law attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC can work with you to create a unique and tailored separation agreement that works for you and your family. We can help protect your rights to financial support, custody and visitation, and fair division of assets. To find out what we can do for you, get in touch with us today. To schedule an appointment at our San Antonio offices, call 210-963-5297 or fill out our contact form. We proudly serve clients throughout South Texas.