While all states allow people to get a divorce, not all states have laws on the books about legal separation. “Can we get legally separated in Texas?” is a question that clients ask us from time to time. It’s not an unusual question since divorce is a big step and not all couples know if they want a divorce and not all couples are ready for it.
For some people, divorce is against their religious beliefs, or the spouses need to stay married for health insurance reasons. Can you get a legal separation in Texas? The answer is, “No, you cannot get legally separated in Texas because the state does not have legal separation.”
In states, such as California, that allow spouses to become legally separated, legal separation is a lot like divorce and has many of the legal effects. When spouses in California legally separate, they can address all issues, such as child custody, child support, alimony, asset and property division, as they would in a traditional divorce.
The key difference between a legal separation and a divorce in California or any other state that allows for legal separation is that separated spouses can date other people, but they cannot remarry. Other than that, legal separation has virtually the same effects as a divorce.
What Are My Options?
If you live in Texas and you’re married, you don’t have the option of getting a legal separation over a divorce since Texas doesn’t recognize legal separations. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Many of the same goals of a legal separation can be achieved through the following:
- Temporary orders
- Protective orders
- Suits that affect the parent-child relationship
- Separation agreements
The above options do have similar effects as a legal separation since they can address child support, alimony, visitation, child custody, and other issues without obtaining a divorce or before a couple finalizes their divorce.
To explore your legal options, including divorce, contact the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC for a case evaluation.