The Houston Family Law Blog

Legal Separation in Houston

A legal separation occurs when a husband and wife live separately but are not divorced. In this time, the spouses pay support and make an arrangement for custody and visitation. If they can’t do this privately a court may give an order.

A legal separation is not the same as divorce. People that are legally separated cannot remarry other people. They must wait until their divorce becomes final before remarrying.

One of the important elements of a legal separation is that during this time, a couple does not accumulate community or marital property. The property acquired after the legal separation will be considered non-marital property. Many couples end up using legal separation, whether as a precursor to divorce, or as an opportunity to re-evaluate their marriage before reconciling. It is advisable to retain a Houston Family Law attorney through this challenging time.

Recently in Legal Separation Category

Should You Legally Separate or Get a Divorce?

To legally separate or get a divorce? That is the question.

Legal separation occurs when a married couple live separately but are not yet formally divorced. During tough economic times, couples often opt to legally separate rather than pursue a full-blown divorce.

When contemplating a serious step like legal separation or divorce, a couple should consider a number of factors.

DMX Divorce Not a Surprise to Reality TV Fans

Unsurprisingly, DMX’s wife Tashera Simmons has filed for divorce this week after separating in 2010 and trying to reconcile on the TV show “Couple's Therapy,” according to the Houston Chronicle. DMX, a.k.a. Earl Simmons, learned the reconciliation did not work on the season finale of the show, where his soon to be ex proclaimed she wanted a divorce, writes the Chronicle.

Can't say that when you start on a reality show about reconciliation that there really is a chance of it, especially if you've already been separated for over a year. In fact, the producers probably had the feuding couple on the show because they knew they could convince either spouse to wait until the final show to reveal that a divorce was wanted.

Could this mean that DMX doesn't have to split the money he earned from taking part in the show?

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver Announce Separation

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and television correspondent Maria Shriver may have always seemed like an odd couple. He is a Republican and former bodybuilder, while she's a journalist and member of the Kennedy family. Yet many people would say that separating after 25 years of marriage was at the very least, unexpected.

The celebrity couple announced their plans to separate, reports The Los Angeles Times, earlier this week. In a joint statement, they wrote to the Times stating that, "After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship."

Courteney Cox and David Arquette Separate

After 11 years of marriage, actors Courteney Cox and David Arquette announced that they've decided to take part in a trial separation. Yet unlike a divorce, a separation could be easily reversible and in some cases doesn't require formal property division.

CNN reports that if this celebrity couple was to formally divide their property through a divorce or legal separation, things could get very complicated for the family law attorneys involved in their case. Not only do Courteney Cox and David Arquette own a house together, but they're also business partners. If the two wanted to permanently separate, we could be seeing the drama that's involved in the a typical celebrity divorce all over again.

Perhaps family drama is contagious in the Gore family. The New York Daily News recently reported that the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, Karenna Gore Schiff, has separated from her husband Drew Schiff after 12 years of marriage. This news comes just a couple weeks after Al and Tipper Gore announced their separation.

Family law attorneys may say that Karenna Gore Schiff is going through perhaps a more complex separation, since she has three young children with her husband Drew Schiff: Wyatt, 10; Anna, 8; and Oscar, 3. It's been reported that Karenna's parents, Al and Tipper Gore, have been helping their daughter out with the kids.

So You've Just Broken Off Your Engagement...Who Gets The Ring?

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when there's an engagement ring involved. People whose cold feet never thaw enough for them to reach the alter often wonder who gets to keep the ring. The answer is quite complicated, and of course varies depending on the state of residence.

Some couples can come to a harmonious decision on their own about who gets to keep the ring, but others will turn the subject into a legal issue. Many women who want to keep their engagement rings argue that the ring should simply be seen as a gift, and that a person has a right to keep that gift. On the contrary, men will argue that the ring is a conditional gift that should only be accepted if the marriage actually takes place.

What Does it Mean to be "Separated?"

The term separation can be a tricky concept when it comes to Texas family law. This is because the state of Texas does not actually recognize the legal concept of separation, according to In the Lone Star state, a person is married until a court enters a final divorce decree.

Nevertheless, Texas couples may find it best to consider informally separating before getting a divorce. Some spouses may want to do everything possible to avoid a divorce; whether it be for religious, financial, or personal reasons. Spouses in Texas can enter a "separation agreement" and there are even Houston family attorneys in the area that can help specifically draft separation agreements.