Helping Texans with a variety of family law cases, including child custody and divorce.

Understanding Divorce Grounds in Texas: Fault vs. No-Fault

by | Dec 26, 2023 | Firm News

Introduction:

Divorce is a complex journey, and when you’re a non-custodial parent, the stakes can feel even higher. As someone who has personally walked that path, I understand the challenges and emotions that come with it. My name is Ben Beveridge, and I am the founder and owner of the Beveridge Law Firm, located at 3301 County Road, Alvin, Texas 77511. I was once a non-custodial parent who only saw my kids on the weekends. But I went to law school with a burning desire to change that and get more time with my children. After passing the bar, it took just a few months for me to achieve equal access to my kids. My personal journey fuels my passion for helping parents in Brazoria and Galveston Counties, particularly fathers, secure equal access to their children.

Understanding Divorce Grounds in Texas: Fault vs. No-Fault

At some point or another, you’ve probably heard the phrase – “That’s grounds for divorce!” Whether it was on TV or during a couple’s argument you accidentally overheard, “grounds for divorce” has long been a part of the fabric of America. But what are the grounds for divorce, and why do they matter? It all depends on where you file for divorce.

In Texas, there are seven grounds for divorce spelled out in the family code, which include both fault grounds and no-fault grounds. While you don’t have to prove fault grounds to get a divorce in Texas, the grounds on which you base your request may affect the outcome of your divorce settlement.

No-Fault Grounds in Texas:

  1. Insupportability: These grounds are commonly referred to as irreconcilable differences. To prove insupportability, you have to show that the marriage is insupportable because of a discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Insupportability is one of the most common grounds for divorce in Texas. In layman’s terms, the person has filed because they no longer see eye-to-eye with their spouse or living with the spouse has become intolerable for some reason.
  2. Living Apart: If two spouses have lived apart without cohabitating for three years or more – at the time of the trial – that could support living apart grounds for divorce. In these types of cases, the court typically views the arrangement as something both parties agreed to, based on the fact that they have lived apart for so long.
  3. Confinement to a Mental Hospital: A spouse’s confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years, with a low likelihood of improvement and a high chance of relapse, can be grounds for divorce. This statute helps protect the confined person’s interests and the just and right division of property.

The Role of Fault-Grounds in Texas Divorce:

The difference between no-fault grounds and fault grounds is pretty straightforward. With fault grounds, someone is actually found at fault for the divorce. While you don’t have to prove fault grounds to get a divorce in Texas, claiming certain fault grounds, like adultery, can impact the proceedings.

Fault Grounds in Texas:

  1. Cruelty: Texas defines cruelty as cruel treatment of the spouse that renders further living together insupportable. It’s a relative term determined based on case-specific facts and can be mental or physical.
  2. Adultery: If you can prove your spouse cheated on you, you typically have grounds for divorce in Texas. Adultery can be proven in various ways, such as through circumstantial evidence.
  3. Felony Conviction: A felony conviction can serve as fault grounds if the spouse is convicted of a felony during the marriage and imprisoned for at least one year without a pardon.
  4. Abandonment: To prove abandonment, the spouse must have left voluntarily with the intent not to return and remained away for at least one year.

While fault grounds exist, the majority of cases in Texas are no-fault divorces. The reasons for this vary, but many people prefer to avoid airing their dirty laundry in public records. However, for those facing unique circumstances, fault grounds can still play a significant role in divorce proceedings.

Additional Thoughts About Divorce Grounds in Texas:

With so many options for grounds for divorce, you may be wondering how often fault grounds come into play in Texas. The truth is, the majority of cases in Texas are no-fault-divorces. While the reasons for this vary, one reason may be that people don’t want their personal matters exposed in public records.

For non-custodial parents, the focus should be on ensuring a fair and just division of assets, as well as securing proper access to their children. In Brazoria County, where the 461st District Court and the 300th District Court preside, and Galveston County, which includes the 306th District Court and the Galveston County Courts at law 1, 2, and 3, understanding the legal landscape is crucial.

If you’re facing divorce or custody issues, my mission is to help you achieve equal access to your children. I also specialize in enforcing court orders when the other parent is not allowing you your court-ordered periods of possession. I’m passionate about advocating for parents’ rights and have been actively involved in legislative efforts to promote equal access to both parents.

For assistance, please call my office at 281-407-0961 or submit your information at https://www.beveridgelawfirm.com/contact/.

In the challenging terrain of divorce and custody battles, having an experienced attorney who understands your rights as a non-custodial parent can make all the difference. Contact the Beveridge Law Firm today, and let’s navigate this journey together.