Couples seek divorces for a variety of reasons, such as conflict, adultery, and abuse. On the outside, a divorce may look much like the dissolution of any other serious relationship, but Texas courts take the process very seriously. In the state of Texas, the reason for a divorce plays a major role in court rulings, and the grounds for divorce must be proven for the petition to be granted. There are two grounds for divorce in the state: fault-based and no-fault.
A No-Fault Divorce
As the name implies, a no-fault divorce doesn’t require the documentation of wrongdoing on either spouse’s part. There are several no-fault grounds for divorce, with supportability being the most common. To get a divorce on these grounds, a divorce attorney must prove that:
1. The marriage can’t be supported due to personality conflicts
2. The conflict has ruined all aspects of the relationship
3. There is no chance of reconciliation
Living apart is another no-fault ground for divorce. Here, the petitioner must show that they haven’t lived with the other spouse for a minimum of three years. Finally, institutionalization is another no-fault reason for divorce. If filing on these grounds, the petitioner and his or her lawyer must prove that the other person has been in a mental hospital for three years and that the condition cannot be cured.
This category is self-explanatory. Here, a petitioner must show that the other party handles the breakdown of the marriage. However, for the divorce to be granted, fault must be proven. Cruelty is one of the most common fault-based grounds, where it must be proven that the other spouse’s cruel behavior created an insupportable condition.
Adultery is another fault-based reason for divorce. If a petition is filed on the grounds of adultery, the other spouse’s infidelity must be documented. These claims cannot be taken lightly, as the accused spouse may experience denial, shame, and anger. A petition can be filed if a spouse has been convicted of a felony, incarcerated for a year, and hasn’t been pardoned. Lastly, abandonment is a fault-based ground for divorce. To prevail, a petitioner or divorce attorney must show that the other spouse intentionally abandoned them and has not returned for one year.
Why Fault Matters
The court’s decision to grant a divorce on fault-based grounds is crucial in the division of marital assets. If a petitioner provides sufficient proof of abandonment, felony convictions, adultery, or cruelty, the court may give the wronged spouse a larger share of the marital estate. Texas’ Family Code doesn’t guarantee a 50/50 split; rather, it guarantees a fair division based on the grounds described above. The courts have substantial leeway in making property awards, and most of the time they do so based on whether the petition was filed as fault-based or no-fault. A lawyer will help clients understand how the state’s laws apply to their situation.
Divorces are complicated even under the best of circumstances, but they don’t have to be life-altering.
With help from an experienced divorce attorney, a client can dissolve his or her marriage and move on with life. Request a consultation online or call the Jackson Law firm for more information about your divorce situation.