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A Detailed Discussion on Texas’s Grounds for Divorce

 Posted on November 14, 2022 in Divorce

mckinney divorce lawyerFault & No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

The State of Texas is a “no-fault state,” which means, first and foremost, that fault is not required to obtain a divorce. In addition, this also means that Texas doesn’t have any disadvantages for those who initiate a divorce with no-fault grounds. In other words, if someone files for divorce with no-fault grounds in Texas, that person won’t automatically face any disadvantages when it comes to property division, or any other issue of the divorce. Of course, a spouse’s conduct during the marriage can still be consequential even when there are no fault grounds cited; but, a spouse will not be necessarily disadvantaged simply on the basis of filing with no-fault grounds. 

The Three No-Fault Grounds

In total, Texas law has 7 grounds for divorce, and this total includes both the fault grounds and no-fault grounds. There are 3 no-fault grounds: (1) insupportability, (2) living separately, and (3) mental disorder. The first no-fault ground – insupportability – is the most frequently cited ground of all and is interchangeable with the concept of “irreconcilable differences” which is often used in other jurisdictions. Essentially, this ground means that the couple simply cannot coexist successfully and needs a separation. The next no-fault ground – living separately – may apply whenever spouses live apart for 3 years or longer. If this occurs, then a spouse can use this as a basis for divorce. The final no-fault ground may apply whenever a spouse is involuntarily confined to a mental hospital and there is a general consensus that the underlying disorder is permanent.

The Four Fault Grounds

The 4 fault grounds for divorce in Texas are as follows: (1) cruelty, (2) adultery, (3) felony conviction, and (4) abandonment. Of these 4 grounds, cruelty is arguably the most difficult to define; there is some subjectivity involved in assessing cruelty, but basically cruelty includes conduct which renders the marriage insupportable. Adultery is less subjective, but more expansive and difficult to prove than some people may think. If a spouse has a felony conviction and served at least 1 year in prison, this can be grounds for divorce; the other spouse has the option of filing for divorce and citing this as fault grounds. Abandonment essentially refers to living apart for at least 1 year, and there is a clear intention to leave the marriage.

Why Fault May Be Important

One of the main reasons why fault is still relevant in Texas’s current family law paradigm is because fault can impact divorce settlements. Texas is a community property state, but the presumption in favor of equality can be overcome whenever one spouse behaves reprehensibly during the marriage. If, for instance, there is evidence of financial misconduct during the course of committing adultery, the offending party may receive a disproportionate share of the marital assets. Other forms of misconduct can lead to the same outcome. The bottom line is that, although fault may seem like an anachronistic concept to some, fault is still significant in the context of divorce proceedings.

Contact The Ramage Law Group for More Information

To learn more, contact The Ramage Law Group today by calling 972-562-9890.

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