San Antonio Lawyers for Divorce Due to Living Apart
Marriage is often thought of as two people coming together into one partnership. Two lives co-exist in love and harmony. However, when you are having relationship problems, it can feel like you are two people living separate lives. When does the sensation of feeling apart turn into physically living apart?
For many couples, separation and living apart from one another is just one small step toward the goal of divorce. Separation is not the same as divorce, and divorce is not the same as living apart. These words are all labels that people put on relationships. Legally, these labels all mean very different things.
The San Antonio divorce attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. understand how difficult it can be to initiate a separation or divorce. Living apart may be one way for a partner to gain some distance and perspective on their relationship. In some cases, living apart from a spouse can offer a small measure of solace during a turbulent and emotionally charged time.
If you are living apart from your spouse or are considering living apart, talk to an experienced Texas family law attorney today. We can review your situation, advise you of your legal rights, and support you through this difficult time. For a compassionate shoulder to lean on, call our office at (210) 349-9933.
No-Fault Divorce and Living Apart
One of the most frequently asked questions divorce attorneys get is, do married couples need to be living apart to get divorced? The answer depends on the state. Some states require that couples live apart from each other for a period of time before a judge will finalize a divorce.
In Texas, couples can file a no-fault divorce. Most no-fault divorces are amicable for the most part, and both parties tend to agree that a divorce is in both of their best interests. Couples will commonly say that irreconcilable differences are responsible for the breakdown of their marriage. In Texas, “irreconcilable differences” are called “insupportability.”
In states with a no-fault divorce option, spouses are free to live in the same house during the divorce process. Partners are not required to legally live apart as the divorce moves through the court system.
Fault Divorce and Living Apart
Spouses in Texas also have the option of filing for a fault divorce. In a fault divorce, you are attempting to assign blame for the breakdown of your marriage. Assigning blame can be crucial in cases where child support and alimony payments are on the line. If a spouse is at fault for causing a marriage to crumble, they may be responsible for contributing a greater share of money, property, or assets to their former partner.
There are generally six legally acceptable grounds for pursuing a fault divorce. These grounds include adultery, a felony conviction, and cruelty. Living apart is also grounds for a fault-based divorce case. If you and your spouse live apart from each other for at least three years, a divorce may be possible.
Another form of “living apart” is also grounds for a fault-based divorce. Abandonment is when one spouse leaves the other, lives apart, and is absent for one year or longer.
Will Living Apart Impact a Divorce Case?
When things are not working out between you and your partner, it can be draining just being in the same room together. Sometimes it can feel like getting some distance is in the best interest of you and your spouse mentally and potentially physically. Should you just up and leave your home and make separate living arrangements?
It used to be that when a partner left their home, they inadvertently gave up their right to keep the house after a divorce. Times are changing, and thankfully, that isn’t always the case today. Regardless of who stays in the home and who leaves to live separately, most courts view a home as marital property. When a home is considered marital property, it can be divided between the spouses.
However, it is still wise to talk to an experienced family law attorney before you leave your home and live apart from your spouse. Whether or not divorce is on your radar, you need to consult with someone who knows the ins and outs of family law before you make arrangements to leave.
Can a Couple Live Apart and be Legally Separated?
Simply put, no. Texas does not recognize a legal separation between partners. Couples who wish to end their marriage must do so through a divorce. However, while the process is playing out, couples can live separately and make temporary arrangements. A family law attorney can help draft a temporary agreement that can cover property division and spousal support while a divorce is in progress.
Technically, living apart may be better for your mental health. Legally, living apart does not equal separating yourself from your former partner. Living separate lives is not like being divorced. Even if you are living away from your spouse, you are still legally bound to that person unless you proceed with a divorce. For some individuals, this arrangement may work. However, while you may be physically separated, you are not legally separated. Your finances, children, property, and assets are all still joined.
If you want to explore living apart from your spouse, you need to talk to a seasoned Texas family law attorney first. At Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P., we can review your situation and help you navigate your next steps. We want what’s best for you and will work toward achieving a favorable outcome for your circumstances.
Contact Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. Today
Before you walk out, talk it out with an experienced family law attorney. Living apart may be a natural progression in your relationship, but to protect your rights, consult with a family law lawyer first. Our team of attorneys has the knowledge and the resources to help you through this challenging time.
To chat with a skilled family law lawyer, call our office today at (210) 349-9933 and set up a confidential consultation. We know this may be a turbulent time for you, and we respect your right to privacy and sensitivity.