Divorce or Legal Separation: Which is Better?
If you are in Texas and want to end your marriage but are confused about whether to go for legal separation or apply for divorce then this article is for you. There are many aspects that a couple should know regarding legal separation and divorce in Texas because the laws governing both differ considerably from other states. Here is a comprehensive overview of legal separation and divorce, including which could be a better option for you.
What is a legal separation?
Legal separation is a situation where the couple remains legally married, but the court grants the couple pursuing divorce permission to disconnect from each other physically and financially. This means, the couple lives separately and is free from financial obligations towards each other. It is not, however, necessary that a legal separation leads to a divorce, as the couple may later resolve their differences and decide to get back together.
What is a divorce?
A divorce is the official and legally recognized dissolution of the marriage. The couple has to decide about the distribution of assets and finances as well as about their children’s custody if any. It is worth noting that Texas is a no-fault state which means that you don’t need to have fault grounds for filing a divorce. Most of the time the spouse files a divorce petition alleging “insupportability” which, as per the law, is a conflict or discord of personalities or a situation when two parties can no longer get along.
No-fault means that a spouse doesn’t need to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. It is, however, possible for a spouse to allege fault, and any misconduct can affect the division of community property.
Legal separation in Texas:
Strictly from a legal point of view, legal separation is not recognized in Texas, which is why it is not possible for a couple to be separated legally, though they can informally separate. Texas law also does not recognize permanent separation, but many couples choose it over divorce for financial or religious reasons. For example, despite not staying together, one spouse can choose to remain on the other spouse’s health plan.
Read also: Divorce in Georgia – How to Get It?
Since Texas doesn’t recognize legal separation, while living apart, the couple’s property will remain community property regardless of the property’s official entitlement. Moreover, the debt acquired by either or both the spouses will also remain community debt. While being informally separated, you will remain married to your spouse, and without initiating the divorce process, you will not be able to separate.
On the other hand, couples can enter into a separation agreement to address some of the issues that are otherwise dealt with in a divorce agreement, such as asset division or alimony. If the couple later decides to formally divorce, the same agreement can be used during the divorce process.
Divorce over separation – Which is better?
Which is better varies from case to case – some couples do not want to give their marriage a chance and are certain about getting a divorce, while some are still having doubts about whether they should go ahead with a divorce or not. For the later type of couple, legal separation would be a better idea to give the relationship a chance to heal and take more time to decide about the future. However, for couples certain that their differences are irreconcilable, there is no need to wait to file a divorce petition.
Some situations where a legal separation might be a better idea include:
- There is a chance of reconciliation, and couples want to spend some time away from each other.
- Spouse wants to maintain salient benefits like health care insurance coverage under the other spouse’s policy.
- The couple cannot get a divorce for religious reasons.
- The couple just wants financial separation before deciding about ending their marriage.
- The couple wants to retain the social benefits of being married.
- One of the spouses has been abandoned by the other for over 90 days.
Situations where a couple is most likely to opt for a divorce include:
- Reconciliation is not possible.
- The relationship has turned excessively toxic.
- The marriage is abusive.
- Children are under stress due to the couple not getting along together.
- The marriage is just not working, and dragging it further will only complicate matters.
Is DIY divorce a good idea?
Many couples think that ’do it yourself’ (DIY) divorce is a good idea, but in Texas the opposite is true. Getting a divorce in this state is a complicated process, which usually only attorneys can aptly handle. They have years of experience and have all the necessary knowledge and qualification to represent a petitioner in a divorce suit. If you decide about doing it yourself, you may not have a sound idea about the process of divorce or the documents required to file for divorce.
If the divorce is contested (meaning that the other spouse either doesn’t agree to get a divorce or doesn’t agree to the terms of the divorce), it can be a long and complicated process involving lots of court visits and even a trial. Therefore, a DIY divorce is only recommended in simple cases where the couple does agree on everything. Even in amicable cases, the paperwork can be difficult to sort out and file on your own.
Online divorce, from this perspective, is a much better solution, as it is far more inexpensive, and you will be properly guided by reliable and credible experts without undergoing the hassle of repeatedly visiting your lawyer’s office, since the difficult process of completing the paperwork is conducted online.
Filing for an uncontested divorce without an attorney in Texas:
When a couple is in agreement regarding all the issues to be addressed in a divorce settlement agreement, the divorce process becomes a lot less complicated. This is called an uncontested divorce. Issues that must be agreed upon may involve child custody, alimony payments, and property division, etc.
In Texas, filing an uncontested divorce is a much easier process than a contested divorce. Uncontested divorce process moves quickly, especially if minor children aren’t involved. Furthermore, it is much more affordable, since the spouses have already sorted out the important issues. This makes the court’s job easier. The judge issues a divorce decree almost immediately since there is no trial and the divorce process is completed without an attorney. However, if the couple fails to reach an agreement over any particular issues, then the couple cannot file for an uncontested divorce.
Online divorce – The best way forward:
In Texas, divorce over the internet or web divorce is the best way forward, because you are not only employing a do it yourself approach but also receiving sufficient guidance on the divorce papers to be submitted and how to go about the process. The online divorce process is initiated by providing details on how the couple intends to divide the property, offer child care and support, and sort out other aspects of their married lives. The details are then used to sort out and complete the necessary paperwork for your specific case. The court does not need to know why their marriage has failed or any of the sordid details, and thus the divorce can be granted without any delays.
Usually, the court grants a divorce decree after 60 days. Hence, in Texas, online divorce is a feasible, affordable, and quick way to dissolve a marriage. You don’t need to pay an attorney as you will be guided by a reliable team of experts throughout the process.
Contact us for more details on legal separation and divorce in Texas. Our prompt and helpful customer service is available 24/7 to help you get answers to any questions you may have about the divorce process and all the formalities involved.
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