When you file for divorce in Texas, you will have to cite one of seven statutory grounds for divorce. Depending on which ground you cite, you may pursue a fault or no-fault divorce, each of which have their own benefits and drawbacks.
When you pursue a no-fault divorce, it usually means that you and your spouse agree to the divorce. They tend to be easier to pursue because you don’t have to provide any explanation or evidence. It also means that the judge will treat both of you equally when it comes to decisions about property division, spousal maintenance, child support, and child custody.
Conversely, when you pursue a fault divorce, it usually means that one spouse did something that caused the other to want a divorce. Fault divorces can be contested or uncontested. When you pursue a fault divorce, you will have to provide evidence to prove the ground that you are citing, which can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. If you are successful, however, a fault divorce may give the victimized spouse an advantage when it comes to the divorce agreement.
Texas allows seven different statutory grounds for divorce. These include:
- Insupportability: This is the most commonly cited ground for divorce, and is always a no-fault divorce. If you cite insupportability, it means that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences in personality, values, lifestyle, or more.
- Living Apart: Also referred to as a lack of cohabitation, if the pair have lived apart for a minimum of three years, divorce can be granted. To establish this, you often will have to supply the spouse’s current living address and a list of their financial records to prove that they did not live with you. While it is possible for the court to favor one spouse when you cite this ground, usually this is used as a no-fault divorce ground where neither party is favored.
- Confinement to a Mental Hospital: If your spouse is confined to a state or private mental hospital for a minimum of three years, you may file for a divorce. However, you must also be able to prove that the mental disorder is severe enough that recovery is unlikely or relapse is probable. Though it is possible that the divorce agreement will favor the unconfined spouse, the court will likely appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the confined spouse.
- Cruelty: There is no reason that you should stay with someone who is physically, emotionally, or mentally abusive. If you can prove that living together is intolerable, you can file for a fault divorce in which the court will favor you. *Note: If you are in immediate danger, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 1-800-799-7233.
- Adultery: If you can prove that your spouse cheated on you, you may file for a fault divorce on the grounds of adultery. This ground may not be used if you had agreed to an arrangement such as an open marriage.
- Abandonment: If your spouse has demonstrated an intent to abandon you permanently and has stayed away for a year, you may file for a fault divorce in your favor.
- Conviction of a Felony: If your spouse was convicted of a felony, confined in a jail or prison for at least a year, and has not been pardoned, you may file for a fault divorce in your favor. This ground is not available if they were convicted as a result of your testimony.
If you intend to file for a divorce using any ground other than insupportability, you will have to provide substantial evidence to support your claims. You will also have to meet several other requirements. To file for a divorce in Texas, either spouse must have been a state resident for six months before filing. They also must have lived in the county where they are filing for divorce for at least 90 days. The only exception to this rule is if the last marital address for the pair is in Texas, and the couple filed for divorce before the two-year anniversary of their move out. If you are in the military, however, you are still considered to be a Texas resident while you are serving or if you have been stationed in the state for at least six months.
No matter the circumstances, pursuing a divorce is an emotionally taxing and difficult experience. Finding an attorney you can trust to help you through the divorce filing process is essential. BB Law Group PLLC can help. We have over a decade of experience and are continually recognized for our commitment to our clients. There is no one better suited to help you. We can answer all your questions and advise you on how best to proceed with your divorce filing. Call us at (832) 534-2589 or contact us online to talk to our experienced divorce attorney today.