First, it is important to understand that Texas child support law requires parents to financially support their children, regardless of whether you are separated and have not filed for divorce, or you were never married to the other parent. (For unmarried couples, If paternity has not been established, it will need to be either court ordered or voluntarily established if you are going to seek child support).
So, the short answer, thankfully, is no, you don’t need to get a divorce in order to receive child support! While the state of Texas does not recognize legal separation, there are Texas family law options that you can pursue which will provide you with an outcome very similar to legal separation.
In family law cases with minor children, the types of orders you can file include temporary orders, protective orders, suits affecting the parent-child relationship, or separation agreements. (I will cover separation agreements in an upcoming post). Pursuing these legal avenues can provide you and or your partner with structured visitation, financial support, and even division of property, all before a divorce is finalized or even filed.
What relief can temporary family law orders in Texas provide?
Temporary orders can cover a number of issues and, as the name suggests, they are temporary until a judge enters final orders, something that would typically occur when a divorce is finalized. Often, temporary orders are negotiated, agreed, and signed voluntarily by the parties, however, when you are not able to agree, you will attend a hearing and the judge will make the decisions for you. Temporary orders can cover everything from determining which parent will be the custodial parent, to who will pay which bills. Temporary family law orders in Texas are a great way to ensure that everyone knows what their role and responsibilities are during this period of time which can often be adversarial.
Temporary orders can cover everything from determining which parent will be the custodial parent, to who will pay which bills.