If a couple is not ready to end their marriage but do not wish to continue to live together as spouses, many states recognize legal separation. Texas, however, does not.
If you and your spouse wish to live separately but not obtain a legal divorce, it is wise to protect yourselves by entering a contract specifying how you will choose to handle matters like property division and child custody. A Wells Branch separation agreement lawyer could ensure your contract is legally enforceable and that you do not unintentionally waive any of your rights. Entrust one of the seasoned family attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates to look out for your best interests during this difficult time.
A separation agreement serves a similar purpose to a pre-nuptial or post-marital agreement. It defines an understanding between the parties about how they wish to address specific issues related to their relationship.
If one party wants to end the marriage but the other does not, a separation agreement could be a way of establishing the rights and obligations of each spouse until they agree to divorce or reconcile. Similarly, sometimes there is a personal or financial advantage to delaying a divorce. A separation agreement could guide the parties’ relationship until the time is right for them to file for a legal divorce.
Each party should have an attorney in Wells Branch who represents their best interests to review the separation agreement prior to signing. Judges will usually enforce separation agreements if the parties entered them willingly, with knowledge of their implications, and without coercion. Demonstrating that each party obtained a legal professional’s advice before signing the agreement is evidence that they were willing signatories to the contract.
A separation agreement could describe the parties’ understandings about a range of issues, such as property distribution, spousal maintenance, and even child custody.
Separation agreements could also ensure fairness. For example, any property or debt either spouse acquires during a marriage, with limited exceptions, is considered community property. A separation agreement could state that assets or debts the spouses acquire after the date of separation should not be considered shared.
Similarly, if a judge awards alimony in a divorce, the length of time the couple lived together could influence the amount and duration of those support payments. A separation agreement could contain a statement that the parties ceased living together on a specific date, which may impact a judge’s decision when ordering spousal support.
Separation agreements also could address custody and visitation rights. The contract could establish where the children will live and how often the other spouse will have access to the children. It is critical to get the advice of a well-practiced Wells Branch separation attorney when making agreements related to children.
A separation agreement is enforceable on the same terms as any post-marital agreement. According to Texas Family Code §4.104, a separation agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties to be enforceable.
An enforceable separation agreement requires full disclosure by both parties. If either party hides assets or debt from the other, the agreement is not enforceable. A party who did not disclose all their assets and liabilities before the other party signed the agreement must prove the other party waived their right to full disclosure in writing or had personal knowledge of all the relevant property and debts.
Working with a knowledgeable Wells Branch lawyer to draft a separation agreement ensures that it meets all legal requirements and will be enforceable. The agreement could serve as the template for a later divorce decree, so it is critical to craft these contracts with proper thought and care.
If you have decided to live apart from your spouse, a separation agreement could define your financial relationship while you live apart. Coming to an understanding on important issues now could save time and money later, whether you eventually decide to divorce, reconcile, or remain separated.
A Wells Branch separation agreement lawyer could ensure you know the implications of any agreement you come to with your spouse. Schedule a consultation with a committed attorney at Angela Faye Brown & Associates if you are considering a marital separation.