What Are The Grounds For Divorce In Texas?
Divorce in Texas is categorized as no-fault or fault-based divorce. Most divorces are no-fault, meaning that neither spouse claims that the other caused the breakdown of the marriage. No-fault divorces take away the requirement to prove fault in a divorce. However, it means that the claiming spouse cannot use fault grounds to their benefit, such as claiming a larger share of the estate.
If you decide to file for divorce in Texas, it is important to choose the right grounds for your case. You may choose to file for divorce based on a fault if the other spouse committed adultery or you were a victim of domestic violence during the marriage. Alternatively, you may opt for a no-fault divorce to avoid further stress and delay.
The most important thing is that you understand the different grounds for divorce and make an informed decision with the help of a skilled divorce attorney.
Divorce Attorneys at Skillern Firm
At Skillern Firm, we have a team of highly experienced divorce attorneys that can help you through the divorce process. Our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the Texas Family Code and have helped hundreds of clients navigate divorce proceedings. We want you to get the best possible outcome in your case and we will do everything we can to achieve this.
Our lawyers understand that the divorce process is complicated, and we want to use our unique knowledge to ease the stress on your behalf. With three of our attorneys being Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, you can count on us for top-quality legal service.
Call our law firm today at 936-213-8479 to schedule an initial consultation.
No-Fault Divorce vs. Fault Divorce in Texas
There are seven grounds for divorce in Texas. These divorce grounds are divided into two main categories: fault grounds and no-fault grounds. There is a distinction between a fault-based divorce and a no-fault divorce, in that fault-based divorce alleges one party caused the breakdown of the marriage, and no-fault alleges the marriage broke down because of irreconcilable differences.
Most divorcing couples opt for a no-fault divorce because the process is generally a lot quicker and less costly. However, there are certain benefits to filing for a fault-based divorce. The primary benefit is that proving fault can sometimes affect the terms of the divorce and offer a more favorable final decree to the alleging party.
For example, if one spouse files for divorce because they caught their spouse cheating and spending their shared assets on the affair, they could use this as evidence in the divorce to get a larger share of the marital property. If one spouse suffered abuse during the relationship, they could file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty and fight for primary custody of the children on this basis.
A spouse may also file for a fault-based divorce to receive closure in the marriage. Sometimes, having your spouse’s actions on public record in the divorce pleadings can offer a sense of justice.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas
There are three no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas. Insupportability is the most common of the three, which is defined under Texas divorce laws as “discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation”. This means that neither party is directly responsible for the marriage breaking down and they both agree that there is no hope of reconciliation.
Another no-fault ground for divorce is living apart. If both parties have been living separately for at least three years without cohabitation, they may file for a no-fault divorce on these grounds. One or both parties must provide testimony that the spouses have been living apart for the past three years.
The last no-fault ground is confinement in a mental hospital. If one spouse has been confined in a mental hospital for at least three years, and their condition is of such a degree that they are unlikely to improve in the future, or a future relapse is possible, the other spouse may file for a no-fault divorce. The filing spouse must provide evidence and physician testimony to support their claim.
Fault Grounds For Divorce in Texas
In a fault-based divorce, one spouse is alleging that the marriage broke down because of the actions of the other spouse. To allege fault successfully, the party seeking a divorce must prove one of the following four grounds.
Cruelty, or cruel treatment, is defined as “treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable”. To amount to cruel treatment, the behavior must amount to a willful and persistent infliction of physical or mental suffering that makes living together intolerable.
The type of behavior that would amount to cruelty as grounds for divorce includes physical abuse, verbal abuse, or emotional abuse. The spouse filing for divorce must prove that the behavior caused them significant pain and that the other spouse intended to be cruel.
Adultery is a married person’s voluntary sexual intercourse with someone who is not their spouse. If your partner committed adultery during the marriage or after you separated, you can file for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Evidence used to prove adultery could include text messages, bank statements, or photos proving the affair.
If your spouse left you with no intention of returning, you can allege abandonment as one of the fault grounds for divorce. To prove abandonment, you must show that the other spouse had no intention of returning and that they have been away for at least a year. If your spouse left on military deployment, for example, this would not amount to abandonment.
The final fault ground for divorce in Texas is a felony conviction. If your spouse is convicted of a felony during the marriage and has been in a state or federal penitentiary for at least one year, you can file for divorce on grounds of the felony conviction.
If your spouse’s conviction has been pardoned, you can no longer use this as grounds for divorce. A person may also be excluded from using this fault ground if the case of the convicted felon is based on his or her spouse’s testimony.
How Do Fault Grounds Affect The Final Decree of Divorce?
As noted previously, most divorces in Texas are no-fault divorces. The main reason for this is that a no-fault divorce is often quicker because it removes the requirement to prove fault. Without the requirement to prove fault, divorcing couples can invest more time in negotiation and mediation to come to an amicable agreement on important matters.
However, if a spouse files for a fault-based divorce because of family violence or adultery, it could benefit them in the final decree. It is important to note that this is not guaranteed, and the alleging spouse must provide evidence to support their claims. For example, you cannot simply file for divorce on the grounds of adultery and try to claim all the marital property.
If you can prove that your spouse spent a significant amount of your marital assets on their affair, you may be eligible to receive a larger share of the marital estate. However, we strongly advise seeking the help of an experienced attorney who can help you prove your claims. An attorney can advise you on whether fighting for a fault-based divorce is a good option in your circumstances.
How to Prove Fault Grounds
If you are filing a no-fault divorce based on grounds of insupportability, you will not need to provide evidence to support your claim. In most cases, the Judge will simply ask both parties if they agree that the marriage has become insupportable because of a discord or conflict of personalities and that there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. If both parties agree, the divorce can proceed.
However, if you are filing for divorce on fault grounds, such as cruelty or adultery, you must provide evidence to support your claims. The evidence used to support your claims varies depending on your particular case. For example, if you are claiming adultery, you could provide text messages or bank statements proving the affair.
If you are alleging cruelty based on family violence, you could provide medical reports or letters from your psychiatrist showing that there has been a history of abuse and cruelty in the relationship. Our law firm strongly advises that you seek the help of a divorce attorney to help you prove fault grounds. They can help you gather evidence and documentation to prove your claims.
Should I Hire a Texas Divorce Attorney?
Regardless of whether you are filing for a no-fault or a fault-based divorce in Texas, it is vital that you hire an experienced divorce attorney. Aside from the fault grounds, both spouses must agree on important matters of their divorce, such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and visitation schedules.
Understanding your rights and entitlements under the law can be quite confusing, and navigating the process without an attorney can cause you significant stress. Emotions run high during a divorce, and it is in your best interests to have the backing of a legal advocate that cares about protecting your future. With the help of an experienced attorney, you will have a better understanding of your case and your legal entitlements.
Your experienced divorce attorney should assess your case, figure out whether a no-fault or a fault-based divorce is best in your circumstances, help you with the divorce papers, ensure you are duly informed throughout the process, and fight passionately on your behalf. Your attorney should focus on mediation and negotiation to allow you and your spouse to come to an amicable agreement. However, they should also fight on your behalf in court if necessary.
Contact Skillern Firm Today!
Divorce is an incredibly complex and emotional process. Understanding your rights and trying to navigate proceedings can be quite overwhelming. Many people are unsure how the divorce process works and do not know the difference between fault grounds and no-fault grounds. It is important that you are well informed of your rights in the divorce process so that you know what to expect.
By hiring an experienced divorce attorney in Texas, you can help ensure that your best interests are protected and that you have a full understanding of divorce proceedings. At Skillern Firm, we believe our clients should make informed decisions throughout their divorce and that any decision they make should be in their best interests.
Our law firm has a team of highly experienced attorneys who are ready to help guide you through your divorce, offering clarity and protecting your rights. We can help you understand the grounds for divorce and assess whether filing for a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce is best for your case.
With many years of combined experience and thirteen years of operation within the state of Texas, our law firm has the knowledge and skills you need to get a favorable outcome in your divorce case.