According to the Texas family code, the spouses filing for divorce must claim a legal reason for such a decision. What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Texas?
In Texas, there are seven grounds for divorce. These grounds are categorized into fault or no-fault divorces. The three no-fault grounds include insupportability, living apart, and separation. The four fault grounds include cruelty, adultery, abandonment for one year or more, and felony convictions.
The reasons for divorce in Texas generally influence the length, complexity, and price of the Texas divorce process. If you file for a no-fault divorce, which is rather simple and cheap in comparison with other types of divorces in Texas, you have a chance to get a quick and smooth marriage dissolution, potentially without a lawyer. If you file on the basis of fault, you should expect a lengthier or more complicated process involving lawyers and other legal experts.
Read on to find out more information about acceptable reasons for divorce in the state of Texas and how they may influence divorce outcomes.
Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas
In legal language, a fault is a wrongdoing that was committed by one of the spouses and led to a divorce. Such action can negatively affect the party who is at fault in the legal process. Here is a list of grounds for divorce you may use to file in Texas:
Adultery is defined as a sexual relationship with a person outside of marriage. If you cite this ground while filing for a divorce, it is not enough to say that the adultery has taken place. The affected party must provide solid evidence, such as messages, photos or videos, bank records, or testimonies of eyewitnesses.
Unlike in other states, it is not possible to sue the third party who reportedly interfered in a marriage on the basis of alienation of affection in Texas. According to The Texas Family Code 1.107, the affected party does not have a right to sue the third party on the above-mentioned basis. The only person held accountable in this case will be your spouse.
Nowadays, according to the infidelity laws in Texas, adultery is no longer considered a crime. Nevertheless, the court’s attitude towards adultery as a divorce ground is unfavorable and can affect the final judgment. For example, proven cases of infidelity are taken into consideration by the judge when they are making a decision on a property division.
Even though Texas is a community property state in which marital property and assets are divided 50/50 between the spouses, the cheating spouse can get less than the spouse who was cheated on. Moreover, TX courts may order the infidel spouse to compensate the second party all the couple’s money that was spent on affairs.
Cruelty is a violent treatment towards the spouse that causes them insufferable physical or mental pain. In order to cite this ground, the spouse must have undergone constant, not occasional cases of abuse, which make it impossible for a couple to continue living together. The same as with adultery, you must prove the abusive treatment to the court. You can present the written evidence (your personal records), police reports, or witnesses’ testimonies.
If one of the spouses has moved away from the family house and hasn’t come back for at least one year, the abandoned spouse can file based on abandonment grounds. However, an abandonment divorce in Texas is an option only if the second spouse has left the petitioner (a person who initiates the divorce process) voluntarily and does not show any willingness to come back. If the second party had been returning from time to time, the abandonment would not be an acceptable reason.
Conviction of a felony
In order to file for divorce based on the “conviction of a felony” ground, a petitioner must make sure that:
- The spouse was convicted of a felony;
- The imprisonment lasts for more than 1 year; and
- The spouse was not pardoned.
Grounds for No-Fault Divorce in Texas
If spouses do not wish to file for divorce citing any wrongdoing, they can choose a no-fault divorce, where they can cite one of the following grounds:
Irreconcilable differences (insupportability)
The insupportability definition is, in simple words, an inability of the spouses to maintain a marriage. This is the most common ground in a no-fault divorce because no proof of irreconcilable differences needs to be provided to the court. As a result, such divorce cases are usually faster and cost considerably less than those on the basis of other grounds.
The spouses just have to cite the following grounds of insupportability: a conflict or discord that has destroyed a marriage (made it insupportable), which left no chances of reconciliation.
Living apart for at least three years
In order to get a no-fault divorce based on this ground, the spouses must reside in separate homes for at least 3 years. Any cases of cohabitation during this period will make it impossible to cite this ground for a divorce.
Confinement in a mental hospital
A divorce with a spouse that has been institutionalized for at least 3 years can be granted in the following cases:
- The spouse’s mental state is so serious that there are no chances of recovery in the near future.
- Even if the spouse can recover, the chances of relapse are high.
Frequently Asked Question
Do you need grounds for divorce in Texas?
Yes, you do. If no fault-based grounds suit your situation, you just need to cite ‘irreconcilable differences,’ which is a legal reason that does not require further elaboration.
Is withholding sex a ground for divorce?
Withholding sex is not recognized by the TX courts as a legal ground for a divorce. However, one can cite this reason as evidence when filing on the basis of abandonment.
What is an example of grounds of divorce on insupportability?
An example of the insupportability of a marriage that can be used is a conflict between the spouses that lead to a complete marriage breakdown.
Is infertility a ground for divorce?
According to Texas Statute, infertility is not considered a ground for a divorce. When filing for marriage dissolution, you will have to cite another reason, like irreconcilable differences.
Elizabeth Lopez is a former legal assistant and now a licensed social worker with a master’s degree from The University of Michigan. Having over six years of experience in the field, she covers topics on mental health, marriage therapy, and the divorce process. Elizabeth is a regular contributor to divorce blogs like sasforwomen.com and marriage.com and is planning to start her own professional blog.