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Legal Separation

Texas does not recognize legal separation. Nonetheless, couples who do not wish to divorce either because of timing or religious or other reasons are able to work out independent informal separation agreements that can involve court filings to guarantee the enforcement of certain marital agreements made in connection with an “informal separation.” Properly done, such agreements can lead to an enforceable division of community property and a confirmation of a spouse’s separate property in a manner similar to divorce proceedings.

Texas courts view separation agreements as contracts, rather than court orders, but such contracts must meet certain legal requirements to be enforceable.

Unlike a divorce, in an informal separation third party creditors may seek to collect debts incurred by one spouse from the other. Additionally, each spouse’s property can be reached by judgment creditors to satisfy judgments against either spouse unless your separation agreements are correctly and properly done. Special consideration must be given to such issues, which are more complex in separation than in divorce.

Are you and your spouse considering a legal separation in Southeast Texas? You will want to make sure you contact Sydow Law Firm for help crafting separation agreements that achieve your goals and protect you from future liabilities.

Houston divorce lawyer Michael Sydow represents clients in communities throughout Fort Bend County and Harris County. Call (713) 622-9700 to have our attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.



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A couple may choose a legal separation over a divorce for a variety of reasons. For some couples, there may be tax incentives, military benefits, or certain lifestyle choices that can be preserved through separation that would not be possible following a divorce.

A valid separation agreement or agreements will generally need to contain many of the same information that would be found in a standard divorce decree, including:

  • Child Custody;
  • Child Support;
  • Assets and Liabilities; and
  • Taxes.

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Court Orders Involved in Harris County Legal Separations

In certain cases, one parent may file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). A SAPCR case asks a judge to issue a court order relating to child custody and child support in addition to other factors relating to a couple’s child.

A couple is not required to file for divorce in order to file a SAPCR. The SAPCR is limited only to issues relating to children and does not address other issues relating to separation, such as property division.


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Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship | Texas Department of State Health Services — All final orders in suits in Texas affecting the parent-child relationship must be reported to the clerk of the court to The Texas Vital Statistics Unit. Visit this website to download a PDF version of the VS-165 Information on Suit Affecting The Family Relationship form. The VS-165 Form must be printed double-sided, meaning on one sheet, not two.


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If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation instead of a divorce in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to make sure that you retain experienced legal counsel. Sydow Law Firm represents clients in Houston and surrounding areas in Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Michael Sydow is an experienced attorney in Houston who is a member of both the Houston Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (713) 622-9700 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.


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Sydow Law Firm