Nothing can be more devastating than to find out that your spouse of years or even decades has been cheating on you. When this happens, you may simply want to walk away and end the relationship as soon as possible. After all, when your heart is betrayed, anything may be better than staying in a broken relationship.
Some states offer a legally recognized separation. Texas is not one of these states. While a couple can be informally separated in Texas, Texas law will not recognize the separation as a permanent legal status. However, Texas law does provide other mechanisms that may be valuable to spouses who want to separate from one another.
Temporary orders preceding a Texas divorce
In Texas, either spouse can seek a temporary order prior to divorce. These orders can provide a spouse with a temporary injunction prohibiting the waste of marital assets, ordering the production of tangible records, awarding one spouse the exclusive right to occupy the marital home while the divorce is pending and protecting both spouses in a way that is necessary and equitable. These temporary orders are meant to protect both spouses as they move through the divorce process.
Grounds for divorce following a separation
In Texas, adultery can be a ground for divorce. However, living separately for at least three years can also be a ground for divorce. Texas law also recognizes no-fault divorce.
While there is no separation requirement under Texas law to seek a divorce, if one or both spouses have been Texas residents for at least six months and as long as one of them has been a resident of the county where they want to file for divorce for at least 90 days, they can file for divorce based on one of the aforementioned grounds or a grounds recognized by state law but not included in this post.
Filing for divorce after adultery
If your spouse was unfaithful, it is only natural that you do not want to live with them anymore. However, recognize that a divorce must be based on certain grounds, and you must meet residency requirements. If you can put emotions aside, mediation may be another way to obtain a divorce in a manner that is satisfactory to you and your ex. Finally, while there is no “legal separation” under Texas law you may also be interested in seeking temporary orders that will protect your interests while your divorce is pending.