Caution for women choosing separation over divorce

Many Texas couples facing challenges in their marriage sometimes choose to separate for some time instead of or before divorcing. While this can be helpful in certain circumstances—even at times leading to reconciliations—it can also house many potential pitfalls for both spouses. The chance for greater financial or legal impact can grow during a lengthy separation.

Such is the premise of a recent story published in the media highlighting reasons that women could be harmed by maintaining a long-term separation instead of proceeding with a divorce. Since Texas is a community property state, that means that for as long as a couple is legally married, a wife is liable for any debt and associated legal action that her husband incurs. When living separately, a husband can easily spend money or become indebted without a wife’s knowledge, putting her at severe risk for repaying that debt.

Women that are likely to receive alimony and child support could end up seeing those amounts lowered if they have lived with a long separation and managed to make ends meet with less income during that time. The amount of child and spousal support awards is based upon the incomes and expenses of both parties at the time of the agreement, not necessarily based upon when the spouses last lived together. While taking a breather before making major and final decisions can be helpful, making that break too long can cost women in the long run.

Understanding the nuances of a divorce is important for wives facing a marital dissolution. For their own future and the future of their children, it is important to remain protected against unnecessary financial losses. Talking with an attorney can sometimes be a helpful way to avoid this.

Source: Forbes, “Putting Off Divorce? Ten Ways Long-term Separations Can Do Women More Harm Than Good,” Jeff Landers, October 3, 2013

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