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What Are the Seven Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

Looking at how divorce is shown in movies or on the celebrity news, many people mistakenly believe it is a relatively simple process that does not require much effort to initiate. However, if you study the divorce law in Texas, you will see that there are many specifics and intricacies in this legal procedure. To end the marriage, one of the spouses must provide the court with solid grounds for divorce in Texas.

The reason for the marriage dissolution is stated in the Original Petition for Divorce, a basic divorce document that includes the personal information of spouses and different details about the marriage. Officially, the divorce process begins when this form and other required documents are filed with the court.

There are seven reasons for divorce in Texas, which may be fault and no-fault. The petitioner should carefully consider the possible grounds for divorce and choose the one that applies to their situation. This can significantly influence the entire case, affecting child custody and spousal support decisions and the division of property, assets, and debts.

What is the Difference Between a Fault and No-fault Grounds for Divorce?

There are two types of divorces in Texas – fault and no-fault ones. The fundamental difference between these divorce options is as follows:

  • In a no-fault divorce, neither party blames the other for the marriage breakdown. Usually, such a divorce proceeds without difficulty if it is uncontested. The court takes the prior marital settlement agreement of spouses as a basis while granting a final divorce decree. However, the case may become contested if partners disagree about some divorce issues, for example, the division of property or joint assets.
  • In a fault divorce in Texas, the partner initiating the divorce must prove that the other partner is to blame for the breakup. Such cases are often very stressful and time-consuming. What can be the result? For example, if the fault of the other spouse has been confirmed, the court may implement the division of property with a clear benefit to the petitioner.

Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas

Fault divorce in Texas is not the quickest or cheapest way for a couple to end their union. Is Texas an at fault state for divorce? No, it is not. Texas is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you do not necessarily have to prove wrongdoing on the part of your partner to obtain a divorce.

However, to start a fault-based divorce, one party must provide the court with evidence of the other party’s misconduct that made the continuation of the marriage impossible. The fault grounds for divorce are:

1) Abandonment

Divorce on grounds of abandonment is possible if the three conditions are met:

  • The other spouse has voluntarily abandoned the filing spouse.
  • The other spouse must have the intent to leave the filing spouse.
  • The abandonment in Texas must be continuous and last for at least one year.

There are instances when the absent spouse returns home for some time. However, according to Texas abandonment laws, if this person has no intention of continuing to live with a filing spouse, the one-year period in question is not annulled, and the court may still grant a divorce on abandonment ground.

2) Cruelty​

In legal terms, cruelty is defined as intentional mistreatment of a spouse, causing pain and suffering, that has made the couple’s marital life impossible. Divorce on grounds of cruelty requires a detailed court proceeding, and the interpretation of the term cruelty may vary depending on the specific facts of the case.

To be considered a ground for a fault divorce, cruelty has to be of a continuous nature. It means that one spouse has intentionally and regularly caused physical or mental harm to the other spouse. Mental cruelty divorce cannot be granted just because of a disagreement between the partners or some one-time argument in elevated tones.

At the same time, if a person wants to file for divorce, they do not have to wait for extreme cruelty. Divorce process should surely be commenced before critical brutality in marriage takes place, leading to severe consequences for a suffering spouse. If there are reasons for initiating divorce proceedings, the court will certainly take up the case and issue a fair verdict.

3) Felony Criminal Conviction

A felony conviction is on the list of grounds for a divorce. For a person to begin a divorce process based on this reason, their spouse must:

  • Be convicted of a felony.
  • Be imprisoned for one year or more.
  • Not be pardoned.

It is important to note that divorcing a criminal is not possible because of a felony conviction if the case against that person was based on the testimony of their spouse. In such circumstances, a divorce can still be obtained on the grounds of cruelty or insupportability.

4) Adultery

Divorce on adultery in Texas refers to situations in which a married person cheats on their spouse. Proving adultery in Texas must be based on facts like receipts or bank statements that show that the respondent spent money on their lover, buying expensive gifts, trips, etc.

It is worth mentioning that under Texas adultery law, all acts of adultery that occur after one spouse has filed for divorce may still be grounds for a judgment against the adulterer. In this case, it is best to refrain from any relationship before the court issues a final divorce decree.

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Grounds for No-Fault Divorce in Texas

Texas is a no-fault state for divorce. Therefore, if the spouses have no claims against each other and are able to agree on the key points of marriage dissolution, they can undoubtedly file for the no-fault divorce. Spouses just need to confirm that they no longer want to be married. They can initiate a no-fault divorce in Texas based on:

1) Insupportability

Insupportability divorce in Texas is the most popular reason for breaking up a marriage. If a spouse demands a divorce on grounds of insupportability, they must demonstrate that the marriage is intolerable, unbearable, and full of personality conflicts. Moreover, there should be no possibility that the parties will rebuild their relationship.

2) Living Apart

The court will allow a no-fault divorce for this reason if the parties have been living apart without cohabitation for more than 3 years at the time of filing. It is not possible for spouses living in the same house to obtain a divorce based on this ground. If you are divorcing while living together, consider stating the above-mentioned insupportability reason in your petition.

3) Confinement in a Mental Hospital

The person’s psychological disability or mental illness in Texas are sufficient grounds for their spouse to ask the court for a divorce. The court can grant the divorce if the other spouse:

  • is confined in a mental hospital for three or more years,
  • shows no improvement in mental health,
  • has a high risk of disorder relapse.

When divorcing bipolar spouse, who is not necessarily confined in a hospital, it is best to enlist the support of a quality lawyer. Such cases have their nuances, and the advice of a specialist will help you avoid mistakes and successfully finalize the divorce process.