Most people think they can get a legal separation in Texas. Unfortunately, the Texas Family Code has no such provision. There are four alternatives: One is to begin the Collaborative Divorce process, with the goal of agreeing to child or property terms that benefit the family as a whole. Because this process proceeds with minimal court oversight, the pace is determined by the needs of the couple. The second option is to file for divorce and obtain temporary orders concerning the children and the property. These temporary orders would be in place during the pendency of the divorce – minimum 60 day statutory waiting period – or possibly much longer with leave of the court. The third option is for the spouses to enter into a post-nuptial partition agreement, which is authorized by the Texas Constitution for spouses to contractually confirm their property rights in the marital estate. Then, should a divorce be necessary in the future, the property division is clarified and hopefully much more straightforward. In the event the spouses do not want to file for divorce, but more structure needs to be in place concerning the children, the fourth option is to file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR for short), outlining terms for conservatorship, possession, access and support. This option requires the court’s approval of any agreement or, in the event the matter is contested, a hearing would need to be scheduled.
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