Reasons for a Divorce
If you are thinking about filing for a divorce, you might be wondering if you are entitled to one. To file for a divorce in Texas, couples have to provide a reason, and you have to prove at least one ground before the court will grant the divorce to you. Under the Texas Family Code, there are seven grounds that will count as solid reasons for a divorce.
Texas separates these grounds into two categories- no-fault and fault divorces. Fault vs. No fault can affect how the marital property is divided. Most divorces in Texas are filed under what is commonly called “No fault”.
You may want to seek the advice of an attorney to ensure your rights and future are protected when filing for divorce.
Fault and No-Fault Divorce
There is a significant difference between a fault and a no-fault divorce under Texas law. A fault divorce is when a person seeks a divorce to prove their spouse is at fault. In the no-fault divorce, neither spouse is assigned blame.
The type of divorce you file can have a significant effect on its outcome. In a fault divorce, the judge can distribute your marital assets unequally due to infidelity or other act proven through the grounds filed for the divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the assets are typically (although not required to be) split 50/50.
Texas allows for a person filing for divorce to choose which they want to file- fault or no-fault.
Grounds for a Fault Divorce
A fault divorce means the spouse asking for the divorce seeks to prove the other spouse has done something wrong. There are several grounds one is allowed to use to justify the divorce being granted.
A divorce court will require the spouse to prove that the grounds they are using actually exist. Proof can be in the form of testimony from a witness who has first-hand knowledge of the spouse’s bad behavior. Proof can also be provided in the form of documentation or other evidence.
Fault divorces are not as common because the no-fault cases are much easier, but they do still exist in Texas. The fault divorce is also much more expensive. The most common grounds under a fault divorce include:
Felony Criminal Conviction
If a spouse receives a felony criminal conviction, it is grounds for divorce. The judge will grant the divorce if one of these three conditions exists- convicted of a felony, imprisoned for at least one year or more, and has not been pardoned. The conviction can be either federal or state.
Under Texas law, cruelty is defined as purposely or willingly causing pain to your spouse. Each case is determined by the facts presented as one person’s belief of cruelty is not always the same as others. The cruelty has to be a persistent infliction of unnecessary suffering. Suffering can be either physical or mental, and simple disagreements are not acceptable as reasons for a divorce. This is harder to prove than it may seem
Abandonment is acceptable grounds for a divorce if one spouse voluntarily has left the spouse filing for divorce. The spouse must have left with an intention of abandoning the filing spouse and have been gone for at least one year. The abandoning spouse must also have no intention of returning.
Adultery is the voluntary sexual intercourse of one spouse with one that is not their spouse. If you have positive proof your spouse is or was having an affair, it will be considered grounds for a divorce. Adultery is not nearly as big of an issue to most judges as it might once have been 20 years ago.
Other grounds for divorce can include:
- Religious differences
- Financial backing
- Substance or alcohol abuse
Grounds for No-Fault Divorce
No-fault divorces are much more common. This form of divorce usually costs less and takes less time, which is what makes them more common. A no-fault divorce does not require a spouse to prove the other has done anything wrong. The no-fault divorce helps to prevent mudslinging among the couples. In a divorce, there are public records that could publish intimate details the couple would not want to be public knowledge.
While the no-fault divorce does not need a reason for the court to grant a divorce in the State of Texas, you would still have to show the court there are reasons for a divorce. Common grounds for a no-fault divorce include:
Inability to Support
- Living apart
- Confinement in a mental hospital
A simple statement that “there is a discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship” will meet this requirement.