No Fault Divorce in Texas

It used to be the case where if you wanted to divorce your spouse you had to specify the reason why. Maybe she was abusive against you. It could be that he used your name to sign up for some loans and lost thousands of dollars of community income in doing so. Or it could be the sad story of an unfaithful partner that spurred the divorce to occurring. Whatever the reason, there just had to be one for a person to have filed for divorce in Texas.

That is no longer the case today. In Texas, it is possible for a person to basically tell a court that he or she is filing for divorce due to irreconcilable differences (a dispute big or small between the parties that cannot be overcome in order to save the marriage). This is commonly referred to as a “no fault” divorce. In practice, this could mean a huge argument over an important topic or it could be that you just don’t like the way that your spouse chews their dinner and can’t bear to eat another meal with him or her.

That’s not to say that you can’t file for divorce based on a specific “fault” in the break-up of the marriage. The option is yours to file for divorce based on fault grounds or on the “no fault” basis. There are benefits to filing in either manner based on the particular circumstances of your life. Depending on those circumstances and what your goals are for your divorce filing one way or the other may work better for you.

A look back at Divorce in Texas from a historical perspective

Texas, like most states, only granted divorces for the sort of specific reasons touched on in the opening section of this blog post. If your spouse meets one of the reasons listed in the Texas Family Code for the breakup of the marriage, a judge may grant you the divorce based on a fault provision. Those reasons are found under Section 6 of the Texas Family Code:

  1. Living apart
  2. Confinement in a mental hospital
  3. Cruelty
  4. Abandonment
  5. Conviction of a felony
  6. Adultery

It is not easy, however, to prove that one of these aforementioned faults actually contributed to the breakup of your marriage. The standard that the court will be looking for is a “preponderance of the evidence” or “more likely than not” that cruelty, for example, was the defining reason why your marriage to your spouse is no longer sustainable.

In order to prove a fault ground it can cost you a lot more than an “no fault” divorce in terms of both time and money. The reason those two expenditures are tied together is because in a divorce case time, for better or worse, equals money.

If you need to present a separate case to prove one of these grounds that will cost you in attorney’s fees and time preparing for a trial. You will also have to wait until a trial to resolve your case rather than possibly settle your case in mediation- where the vast majority of family law cases resolve themselves.

A divorce based on a specific fault can allow the aggrieved party to receive a larger share of the community estate. However, for most married people the estate is not large enough to justify the expenditure of money and time necessary to get to that point. This is why most divorces in Texas are counted as No Fault divorces.

The No Fault Divorce and its Development in Texas

Unfortunately, divorces went from being extremely rare in our State to being much more common in recent years. As a result the Texas Legislature eased up on the requirement that a person cite a specific fault in the breakup of the marriage.

Now a person just has to tell a judge that they want a divorce and a “stand in” reason like irreconcilable differences will allow the case to move forward. The fact that many divorces see one spouse wanting to dissolve the marriage while the other does not want to shows just how much easier it is to get a divorce than in decades past.

Even when disputes do occur in no fault divorces, over children or property for example, the disputes do not usually escalate to the point where they may in a fault based divorce case.

How to Determine which route is best for you when selecting a ground for divorce

If you find yourself wondering what is the more appropriate designation for your divorce- fault or no fault, it is best to meet with a licensed family law attorney to discuss your options.

As I mentioned earlier, most divorces in Texas are based on no fault grounds but that does not mean that your situation merits that sort of designation. Many people are unfortunately victims of bad behavior by their spouse that justifies the spending of additional sums of money to prove and have on record that their spouse played a larger than normal role in the breakup of their marriage.

Other marriages involve large community estates where if a larger than 50% share of the estate was awarded by a Court to the wronged-spouse that award would more than balance out the extra time and money spent to prove their divorce on a fault grounds.

Still other divorces have a child that is the central issue in the case. If a parent has shown a propensity for violence or neglectful behavior, and a fault based divorce can help keep the child safe from danger, then a “fault” divorce is clearly in a party’s best interest to fight for.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan- Experienced divorce attorneys for Texas families

After reading this blog post you may be interested in learning more about the possibilities for your divorce. If you have made up your mind to file for divorce or if you are just contemplating it for the first time, please do not hesitate to contact our office to learn more about our team of divorce attorneys. A consultation for family law matters is free of charge and we are available to meet with you at your convenience six days a week.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. What does Insupportability or No-Fault in a Texas Divorce Mean?
  2. An Explanation of the Grounds for Divorce in Texas
  3. Is Adultery a Crime in Texas?
  4. Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
  5. When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
  6. 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
  7. The Dirty Trick of Hiding Assets During Your Texas Divorce
  8. The Dirty Trick of Engaging in Spousal Starving During a Texas Divorce
  9. Know How Property and Debts are Divided, When Preparing for Your Texas Divorce
  10. How Much Will My Texas Divorce Cost?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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Spring Divorce Attorney
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Houston, TX 77068
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