Couples in Texas and elsewhere going through marital problems sometimes choose to live separately as a method of avoiding the hassle and expense of divorce. In reality, it can create more financial headaches the more years the marriage remains in limbo.
During long-term separations it is difficult to know how the marital assets are being managed. If a spouse is completely unaware of what the other is earning, investing or selling, it can be especially tricky. Long separations also offer up an opportunity for the high income spouse to hide assets. It also gives spouses an opportunity to move out of state or even out of the country. A spouse may be forced to lower living standards during a long period of separation, and this could make it more difficult to get alimony based on the previous marital lifestyle.
A prolonged separation could also be a problem if either spouse gets into certain legal issues. If one spouse is sued, is a part of financial misdeeds or files a false joint tax return, it could put the other spouse's finances at risk. Prolonged periods of separation without a formal support agreement can be devastating to someone who is financially dependent upon the other for support when that support suddenly stops.
The legal process of divorce can put an end to years of living separate lives. If the time has come to end a marriage, it may be wise to allow a divorce attorney to review the case. An attorney may be able to recommend ways to help negotiate a settlement that is fair and equitable to both parties.
Source: Forbes, "Putting Off Divorce? Ten Ways Long-term Separations Can Do Women More Harm Than Good", Jeff Landers, October 03, 2013