If you’re considering divorce, begin by gaining a basic understanding of the laws that govern divorce. Deciding on the grounds for divorce in Texas is one of the first aspects of the legal marriage dissolution process.
“Grounds for divorce” simply means the reason you are ending your marriage. The grounds for your divorce may have an effect on your case, so it’s something worth pondering before filing any legal papers.
Why Grounds for Divorce Exist
Marriage is something that society takes seriously, and it’s generally not encouraged to end a marriage unless there are valid reasons to do so. In the past, most states required someone filing for divorce to show how the other partner was at fault; nowadays many states have a no-fault option that allows couples to simply say they no longer get along.
Not getting along is often referred to as irreconcilable differences. Texas offers the no-fault option in addition to other grounds.
Overview of Grounds for Divorce in Texas
The following list is seven grounds for divorce in Texas:
- insupportability. This is the no-fault option for divorce in Texas. As previously stated, this option simply means that the partners have ongoing, irreconcilable differences that make the preservation of the marriage undesirable or impossible. For some couples, this option may seem like the easiest and best avenue because it helps them avoid ongoing court battles and unwarranted accusations.
- cruelty. Unfortunately, a relationship that starts off loving can turn into a daily emotional battleground. In some cases, this involves one spouse frequently belittling, disrespecting, and abusing the other in word or deed.
- adultery. When one spouse has an affair it can destroy the foundation of trust in a relationship, lead to continued suspicion and stress, and cause the marriage to break down quickly.
- conviction of a felony. If one spouse has been convicted of a felony and imprisoned for a year or more in any state or federal penitentiary then the other spouse may file for divorce in Plano. The court may decide not to grant a divorce on these grounds if the convicted spouse was granted a pardon or if the conviction was based on the testimony of the other spouse.
- abandonment: A marriage is a promise to provide moral and financial support to each other. If one spouse walks away from the marriage for a significant amount of time, withdrawing support, this is known as abandonment. In Texas, the duration of absence must be one year or more for it to be considered abandonment.
- living apart: Sometimes a married couple simply grows apart, and begins living in separate residences at some point. In order to file for divorce on the grounds of living apart, the couple needs to have been separated physically for a duration of three years.
- confinement in a mental institution. Mental illness can tear a family apart, especially if the mentally ill spouse is in many ways no longer the person that he or she used to be. The state of Texas can grant a divorce on these grounds if the confinement lasted for three years or more and the ill spouse shows no signs of rehabilitation potential.
Choosing Grounds for Divorce in Texas
If a judge grants a couple a divorce based on one spouse’s fault, it can affect some details of the case; for example, the at-fault spouse may be required to pay a higher amount of spousal support or be required to take a smaller portion of the marital assets, although this is not always the case. Some grounds for divorce may affect child custody as well. This is especially true when cruelty has been proven.
Like any accusation in a court of law, grounds for divorce require evidence. If one spouse has police reports and hospital records showing domestic violence, then cruelty should be easy to prove. Criminal convictions and confinement in an institution also have documented proof that is easy to access.
Adultery is often the most difficult to prove because it can be difficult to obtain evidence, but technology has made some types of evidence more common and easier to obtain.
Contacting a Family Law Attorney
Each marriage and divorce is unique, and your grounds for divorce will reflect that. When deciding to divorce, it’s important that you discuss all your options with your family law attorney. Consult an attorney with Warren & Migliaccio. Call 888-584-9614.