What You Should Not Do During A Separation
Spouses that do not want a divorce can seek legal separation in some states. This allows them to know their rights and obligations when they are living apart. Couples can use that period of time they are separated to determine whether they should stay together or have a divorce. But you need to avoid some mistakes when you are separated because they could turn into significant problems in your divorce.
Do Not Announce Your Separation
How Does Separation Work
Your separation is your and your spouse’s business. Telling others you are separated can lead to dishonest and twisted rumors being spread. These rumors will eventually reach your spouse and make the divorce more likely to happen.
Never post your family problems or separation on social media. Only talk about the separation with the people you trust.
Stay In The Marital Home
Separation does not mean moving out of your marital home. You need to stay at home so that you can gain equal time with your children. This also means you can keep your valuable possessions and don’t have to spend money buying new furnishings or paying rent for a new home.
Moving out could make a judge conclude that you gave up on the marriage, which may lead to child support and custody decisions that are unfavorable to you. Your spouse portrays you as a person who abandoned their family.
No Casual Dating During Separation
How Should I Behave During Separation?
Casually dating during the separation could lead to a “fault-based” divorce. While there may be no specific law that stops you from dating during a separation, there is nothing stopping your spouse from filing for divorce on the grounds of “adultery”. This lead to your spouse getting a larger share of the community property.
Only Pay Your Share
In a separation, your spouse should get a job. You should not cover your spouse’s bill and only pay your share. Paying for all of your spouse’s expenses could lead to you having to pay alimony. You can negotiate before the separation on who should pay what bills.
These include paying for the house, utilities, groceries, insurance, and so on. Paying all these bills yourself makes the judge think that you are able to continue covering those bills after a divorce.
Do Not Drag The Separation For Years
You should not delay the inevitable if you see no signs of getting back with your spouse after separation. Letting it drag for years will only leave you stuck with bills and unhappy. The longer you wait to file for divorce the more likely you are to make mistakes that will make the inevitable divorce harder.
Benefits Of Separation
What Is The First Thing To Do When Separating?
Separation can help couples re-evaluate why they are married which could lead to reconciliation. It also gives spouses the ability to protect their financial interests while still legally married. But spouses have to deal with the emotional toll of separation and the inability to see someone else.
You should consult a divorce attorney to help you determine whether separation or divorce is the right choice in your situation.
Attorney Daryl Longworth is a family law attorney licensed by the State Bar of Texas. He is the senior attorney at The Longworth Law Firm in Houston, Texas. Mr. Longworth is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to becoming a licensed attorney focusing on divorce law and family law in Texas, Mr. Longworth was a police officer for the Houston Police Department.