Do you need a formal agreement to separate from your spouse?

Making the choice to end your relationship with your partner can be an emotionally challenging process. Once you’ve decided to take this step, you may want to live separately, but divorce may not be the right choice either. Separating can give both parties the space they need, but there are also steps you should consider to protect your interests during this time.

There are many benefits to having a formal separation agreement. It can provide you a basis for a future divorce agreement, but it can also provide clarity and security for the remainder of the marriage. If you are considering moving out, you may also want to consider steps that can reduce the chance of financial and legal complications during your time of separation.

Facts about legal separation

Legal separation allows you to remain married while living apart for as long as you choose to do so. Some benefits to choosing this instead of moving directly to a divorce include:

  • Legal separation allows you to share medical benefits as you would if you were living in the same home.
  • By remaining married, you and your spouse can remain next of kin for medical emergencies and other unexpected situations.
  • Separated Texas couples will maintain property rights, which means if either of you die, the other will still be considered the spouse.
  • Separation gives you time to consider reconciliation or discuss important matters you will need to resolve if you decide to divorce.

There are certain reasons why separation could be the best choice. It could be an easier decision to make if you are still considering your options, and it can provide you with the time and space you may need to think through critical decisions that will impact your future. While it’s not a requirement to separate, a formal agreement is prudent.

What’s in it?

Like a divorce agreement, a separation agreement should be custom-tailored to your needs and objectives. It is important to include terms that pertain to child custody, spousal support and property division. These matters are just as important in a separation period as they are during divorce proceedings. It is helpful to consider what may be best long-term as your separation agreement could lay the groundwork for a divorce agreement in the future.