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In Texas, does a marriage dissolve after 3 yrs. of separation?

Denton, TX |

My husband & I have been physically separated for 33 months , b / c he became abusive , & after the last assault I decided I finally had enough . We live in TX . He said by law our marriage will legally dissolve at 36 mths , I didn't file b / c his family is rich & he said if I do he has the $ to get custody of our daughter since I can't afford a lawyer . ( We currently have JC , me as primary ) I have nothing to sell , I was a SAHM , accounts were in his name only . He took our car & refused to let me use it , even while he served 6 mths in county jail ( MTAG - Assault w / BI , FV ) . He is also not complying w / child support order , harasses / verbally abuses me when he picks up daughter for visitation , etc . . He said if I don't agree to his divorce terms , he will dedicate his life to making my life " a living hell " . Any sugg . ? ?

Attorney Answers 3


That is completely untrue. The only way a marriage ever sort of just "dissolves" in Texas is trough a provision that applies only to common-law marriages, and the reality is that that is actually not what happens, there's just a rebuttable presumption that if no one files anything for two years after someone moves out, no marriage existed. I think the real idea there is just to cut down on the bigamy cases that would otherwise clog the docket!

I imagine where he's getting that three year business from is actually Section 6.006 of the Family Code, which says:

"The court may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years."

The living apart just provides another legal ground for a divorce, not some kind of alternative to divorce. But in Texas, you don't even NEED any real ground for divorce, and most people get divorced just using the general ground that things aren't working out and it doesn't look like they're going to get better. So in reality, it's legally irrelevant that you've been living apart, and you definitely do need to divorce to end your marriage. The fact that he has a family violence case will very likely improve your position in the divorce and for custody, but realistically, the only way to get there is to go ahead and contact an attorney. You might be surprised at just how wrong those claims of his are. Good luck.

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No. There is no legal separation in Texas. Either you're married or you're not-- and the only way to not be married is to get divorced.

And a divorce is no picnic but it's far from a living hell. I'd recommend calling around to several lawyers and finding one who will take a payment plan.

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No, marriges in Texas do not simply dissolve. Once you are legally married, a divorce must be filed in order to be legally divorced.

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