Legal Separation

Although in some States, a couple can legally separate, Texas law does not make any provision for a “legal separation”. In Texas, the court cannot take legal action until a petition for divorce has been filed. There may be various reasons why a married couple may prefer to make legal provisions for living separately over a period of time while considering divorce. In these cases, there may be concern about how property will be characterized during this waiting period. With the help of experienced legal counsel, spouses can “freeze” their financial situation by agreeing to characterize property as separate during the period of separation.


Although the state of Texas does not recognize a legal separation, there is a legal process by which the parties can contract for the division of the estate. A skilled lawyer can assist you in preparing a separation agreement, also known as a partition and exchange agreement. This agreement provides for the division of property between the parties, similar to what parties would want to accomplish through “legal separation”.

A property agreement allows the parties to remain legally married and still have some or all of their financial affairs separate. Should they decide to reunite later, the agreement will remain in effect unless the agreement automatically terminates or they take steps to record a new agreement. If the couple later decides to divorce, the court will give recognition to the agreement already in place.

It is important to get solid legal advice before you move out. The manner in which you approach a separation agreement can have an effect on your community property rights under the Texas Family Code. Our legal team understands that each circumstance is unique and may require a creative solution. Call us at Chernoff Law today. We offer you a free consultation to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have.