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When are we legally separated?

When it comes to problems in a marriage, it is not uncommon for spouses to physically separate themselves adding a certain point. That may be to increase the level of calm in the household while allowing for cooler heads to prevail if there has been a disagreement or argument. Rather than continue to remain in a hostile and unwelcoming environment, you and your spouse may choose to separate from one another to determine what the next steps you all will take are going to be. For different families, this may be a different sort of plan.

Some of your readiness may fully plan to reconcile with your spouse after a certain period has lapsed. You may choose to engage in therapy or counseling with your spouse to develop better communication skills or simply to work through a specific problem that you have encountered within your marriage or family life. Or you and your spouse may be moving towards divorce after having already attempted to reconcile with one another. Whatever situation you find yourselves in, you should have a plan and stick to it as far as moving forward with your case. There is nothing inherently wrong with getting a divorce or trying to reconcile with your spouse. However, it is best to decide one way or another period it is difficult to try to do both.

However, if you find yourself at the very beginning of that process then you may be curious about the next steps in the process as far as getting a divorce and planning for that process. The attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have had the opportunity and the privilege to serve thousands of southeast Texans as they walk through the divorce process. Although the legal process itself is the same for all people, the fact that your family is so unique creates a situation where your case will look different than anyone else. As a result, you are best off trying to develop a plan or strategy for your case based on the specific circumstances of your case and the proven needs of your family.

This is where I think when reading this blog post could stand to benefit from a free of charge consultation with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to be able to assist you with learning more about Texas family law and possibly planning for a divorce. A divorce is something that has so many parts to a case that you can never be too prepared or learn too much about the process. There is certainly a learning process that is involved, and we want to help walk through that learning process and assist you in acquiring information that can be utilized to make decisions about whether to move forward with a divorce. These consultations are available six days a week for your convenience, and we offer two Houston area office locations if you are interested in talking with one of our attorneys in person.

What to expect when you separate from your spouse

To begin with, Texas does not have anything like legal separation in its Texas family code. You may have heard other people reference separating from their spouse and things of this nature. However, the state of Texas does not explicitly mention separation in a legal sense within its family code. as a result, there is no distinction of being legally separated in Texas. in other states becoming legally separated carries with it certain distinctions and protections. However, if you and your spouse physically separate from one another in Texas nothing happens in a legal sense. However, before we move on to a different subject let's talk about what separation does mean to your family. 

By separating yourself from your spouse you are making a clear indication that there is a problem in your marriage and that you intend to seek a change to fix that problem period for most people, that means either attempting to reconcile with your spouse or moving towards a divorce too if you and your spouse intend to try to reconcile with one another then it is important to note that there are opportunities for you to seek counseling from an experienced marriage or family counselor. For instance, you may be able to work with a counselor who is licensed through the state and available to you through your health insurance. You may also be able to talk with your priest or pastor about options available to you through your church if that is your preference. Many times, religious organizations can provide counselors either through your particular religious denomination or even from your fellow parishioners who may be willing to offer their services for free if they are a counselor or therapists professionally.

Counseling works better if both spouses attend. If you are interested in attending counseling, then there may be some benefits that you can get going without your spouse but typically the process works better when both parties attend. Your spouse is unwilling to even attempt counseling with you, and this is probably a good indication that the marriage may not be built to last period however, you can consider your circumstances and then make a plan for how you want to proceed. Counseling is incredibly person-to-person specific meaning that it generally works for some people but may not for you and vice versa. Therefore, so you should consider your specific needs and then make the plan to Either attempt counseling or try to work through the problems of your marriage on your own.

One of the interesting things about counseling is that most of the time a counselor's job is not to play referee when it comes to overseeing disputes and fights between parties. Rather, the number one role of most counselors in a marriage circumstance is that of communication facilitator. Most of us do not have strong communication skills at least in marriage. As a result, even relatively simple situations in your marriage may wind up being incredibly difficult to work through just because you and your spouse, like most of us, are not skilled communicators. It is very easy to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and make a bad situation even worse. As a result, your therapist we'd likely spend a fair bit of time simply walking you through the problems in your marriage and assisting you with learning how to work through those problems and issues. Therefore, it is so important for you and your spouse to be able to let's send these counseling sessions together.

On the other hand, if counseling is not something, but you are interested in pursuing then it may be that you and your spouse are likely headed for a divorce. There are some steps that you can take to begin to prepare for the divorce even before the case begins. A lot of the decisions that you make regarding your case will depend upon whether you have children at home. If not, your case becomes much simpler. However, if you do have minor children in the home then it is critical for you and your spouse to be on the same page when it comes to planning for issues regarding your kids.

This is one of those issues that makes divorce with children so unique. On the one hand, you are actively working to end your marriage. On the other hand, you and your spouse will be taking on a new role as Co-parents of your children. If you thought that parenting was difficult when you were married, you will find that there are a completely new set of challenges to face when you are divorced. However, that does not mean that you and your spouse should not put in the effort to try and be the best parents you can be. All it takes is some work in a decision from the two of you that you are going to set aside your differences and work towards making decisions on behalf of your children that are in their best interests.

What you can do to plan for your divorce even before the case has been filed

As we just finished discussing, it is completely possible 4 you and your spouse to begin preparing for your divorce even before the case has been filed officially. The initial document that is filed in a divorce is known as an original petition for divorce. This is the document that alerts the court 2 you're seeking a divorce from your spouse and presents the issues to the court that you believe are the most relevant. In most cases, this is not an incredibly complicated or long document. By filing your petition, you begin the timeline of the divorce case and put your spouse in the position where he or she must respond with an answer to your original petition or risk having a default judgment issued against them in the future. In Texas, the vast majority of divorces must take 60 days from the date this file until the date on which your divorce can be granted by the family court judge.

That's not to say that a significant amount of work cannot be performed during that 60 days. Or even before the petition is even filed. For instance, you and your spouse can begin to think about how you want to structure child custody of your kids. For example, it is typical any divorce scenario or one person to take on the role of the primary conservator with whom the children reside on most days of the week. Additionally, the other parent will have visitation rights to the children typically on the weekends and alternating holidays. In many cases, these are issues that are sorted out during the temporary orders phase of a divorce.

However, if you and your spouse can do so, you may work pretty this shoes together during the early stages of her divorce. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not necessary to have an attorney do all of the negotiating for you. In some cases, it is beneficial to have an attorney step in to help facilitate discussion and negotiation. For example, we see this regarding mediation in divorce all the time however, it is also important to note that no one in your case will ever know your family as well as you and your spouse. As a result, the two of you are empowered during the divorce process to speak to one another to arrive at conclusions that are mutually beneficial for the two of you and are most of all in the best interests of your children.

Its issues like health insurance for the kids should not be changed during a divorce. Your temporary orders in the divorce will require that no persons be added or dropped from coverage during a divorce. Child support is another important subject that you and your spouse hopefully be able to work through together. The Texas family code has certain guidelines that many people follow for child support when going through a divorce. However, before your case typically begins you and your spouse may be able to work together to agree to have child support be paid by one of you to try and equalize the costs of raising the children before formal child support can be ordered for temporary orders. 

Next, you and your spouse may be able to work on having a plan in place as to how household bills are going to be paid. One of the major challenges of divorces is having incomes split between two households. You and your spouse are accustomed to having your incomes combined to pay household expenses. This is important when you consider household bills, mortgage, retirement savings, and the everyday costs of life for modern families. Having two incomes can help lighten the burden on each parent and ensure that your obligations are maintained each month.

However, in a divorce scenario, we see one spouse typically leave the home and create a new set of household bills from a new residence. As a result, getting on the same page with your spouse even as you begin to live in different households is important to the overall well-being of your family. These are the sort of minutiae and nitty-gritty aspects of a divorce that can be incredibly important to organize at the beginning of a case. Developing household budgets for each of your homes while figuring out how you are going to divide the bills in the primary home can be very important.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you and your spouse to be able to work together on issues like this. Without a doubt, you and your spouse can get divorced successfully if the two of you are not on speaking terms. However, it becomes extremely difficult to do so and guarantees a longer case if the two of you cannot work together to solve relatively simple issues. In my opinion, you can begin to work on these issues as soon as you understand that a divorce is coming. If possible, try to avoid circumstances where you surprise your spouse with the divorce. Rather, seek to be in communication with your spouse and even collaborate on as much as you can before the beginning of your case. That way, the two of you will have less to sort through once your divorce begins.

Legally separating from your spouse means that the two of you are beginning a new process and working to end your marriage. While you may have mixed emotions about this, there is no doubt that you can still be productive even as you begin to separate yourselves physically and work towards planning a divorce case. For each family, this will look a little different. There is nothing wrong with seeking advice and perspective from family members and friends who have been through a divorce. However, you should not expect your circumstances to play out exactly as your family member or friends divorced did. 

For that reason, it is recommended that you begin to prepare for your divorce with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. An attorney is not there to make decisions for you. On the contrary, an attorney is there to help you gain information, and develop a strategy and are both represented by experienced and diligent counsel you would be amazed at how much you all stand to benefit and to what degree your case can be concluded amicably.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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