We Can Help If You Are Separated From Your Spouse

Occasionally people who are married live apart. Sometimes this happens when a person believes that since the couple is "just common law," they are not really married and do not have to get a divorce. That is not the case. While Texas recognizes "common law" or "informal marriage," there is no such thing as a common law divorce. A "common law" or "informal marriage" is just as valid as any ceremonial marriage.

Other than by the death of a spouse, the only way to end a marriage in Texas is by having the court enter a decree of divorce or an annulment, or enter a judgment declaring the marriage void. Thus, if the parties are married they still have community property and debts between them, which may result in serious and unintended consequences if the marriage is not terminated through a divorce proceeding or possibly with the parties executing an agreement between spouses.

Additionally, if children are involved the needs of the children must be addressed, and if the wife should happen to have a child or children with a man other than her husband, the husband is presumed to be the father of the children. The longer a married couple remains separated without addressing issues concerning their property, debts and children, the more difficult and complex their problems tend to become.

If you are in this situation we urge you to consult with an experienced family law attorney and take appropriate steps to protect your property interests and the needs of your children.

Marital Property When Spouses Live Apart

If spouses wish to remain married and live apart, we recommend that the parties consider executing an agreement between spouses. Regardless of what the agreement is called, this is an agreement that spouses (a married couple) may execute in order to address their property. With this agreement the spouses may partition their community estate (including retirement, real property, investments and business interests), debts, and confirm to each other their respective separate property, if any.

An agreement between spouses can also be helpful in addressing their estate planning needs in the event one of them should pass away. If you are married and separated and wish to remain married, we are here to help you and we encourage you to call and schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.

Addressing The Needs of Children When Spouses Live Apart

If a married couple is living apart and has one or more children who are entitled to support, either party (and if services have been requested, the Office of the Texas Attorney General) may file an Original Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR) which allows the court to address the needs of the children by entering orders for conservatorship (custody), possession and access (visitation), rights and duties of the parents (how and by whom decisions concerning the children are to be made) and providing for the support of the children.

If you are married and separated from your spouse and have children, we are here to help you and encourage you to call and schedule an appointment to discuss your situation in order to address the needs of your children

When The Husband Is Not The Father

If a married couple has been living apart, and the wife becomes pregnant with a man who is not her husband, the husband of the woman is presumed to be the father of the child. This is a serious problem for the husband, and creates an additional level of complexity for spouses who may be separated and living apart. The husband or wife should address the paternity issue as soon as possible by filing a paternity case (SAPCR) against the biological father of the child and asking the court to enter judgment that the husband of the wife is not the biological father of the child, and to also establish the legal relationship of father and child between the biological father and the child.

If you are married and separated from your spouse and a child has been born during your marriage to the wife — and the husband is not the father — we are here to help, and encourage you to call and schedule an appointment to discuss your situation as soon as possible.