There is no legal separation in Texas. In order to protect your interests during a pending divorce, temporary orders must be entered by the Court and a divorce action must be filed. Temporary orders determine which spouse resides in the marital residence, which spouse is responsible for what expenses, which residence the children will reside at, and if there is a need for temporary support. There is a mandatory 60 day waiting period for all Texas divorces to become finalized and for a final decree of divorce to be issued.
Texas is a “community property” state. This means that there is a presumption that all property accumulated during a marriage is the property of both the husband and wife. This also means that any debts that are acquired during marriage are the obligation of both spouses. The court will divide both community assets and community debts for a “just and right” division of property during a divorce proceeding. The court will also divide all separate property. Separate property is generally property acquired through gift, inheritance or owned by a spouse before marriage.
When the parties cannot reach agreement the judge usually starts the division of the property and debt with the assumption that it will be divided 50/50. However, additional factors may be considered such as which party was at fault for the break-up of the marriage or whether or not there is a disparity between the earning abilities of the two parties.