The Texas Family Code contains no provision for “legal separation.” Nevertheless, it is possible for parties to contract for rights, duties and obligations contained in a separation agreement.
To be valid and enforceable, the separation agreement should be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the spouses;
- Entered into without coercion, duress, or undue influence;
- Conform with the requirements for a Partition and Exchange Agreement if permanent division of community property is intended, and,
- Be fair and equitable.
A separation agreement executed while the spouses are still living together is void as a matter of public policy. The spouses must be living apart at the time of execution of the separation agreement, or be living apart at the time one spouse seeks to enforce the terms of the separation agreement. If valid, terms of a separation agreement may be included in a divorce decree.
Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC. The firm provides a spectrum of family law-related services to clients in the greater San Antonio region, across the United States and throughout the world. The firm specializes in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce matters and clarification of related orders.