What are the grounds for divorce in Texas?

Picture this: You’re sipping your morning coffee, scrolling through your favorite blog, contemplating the state of your marriage. Sound familiar? Well, my friend, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect article that holds the answers to your burning questions. Today, we’re diving into the intriguing world of divorce grounds in the great state of Texas!

Let’s face it, the “D-word” isn’t something we take lightly. It’s like a roller coaster ride of emotions mixed with a dash of legal complexities. But fret not, because we’re here to guide you through the maze and help you emerge victorious on the other side.

So, do you need a reason to divorce? The short answer is no. Texas embraces the concept of no-fault divorces, allowing couples to part ways without pointing fingers or playing the blame game. But hold your horses, my curious reader, because understanding the nuances of divorce grounds can unlock hidden advantages and shape the outcome of your case.

Short Answer: No, you don’t need a reason to divorce in Texas, but understanding the impact of different grounds can make a world of difference in your case.

Why should you keep reading?

  1. Community Property Division: Discover how your chosen grounds for divorce can influence the division of your hard-earned assets and debts. Think of it as a treasure map leading you to a fair share of the bounty.
  2. Child Custody and Visitation: Explore how different divorce grounds can impact custody arrangements and ensure the well-being of your little ones. We’ll help you navigate the emotional terrain with grace and wisdom.
  3. Spousal Support: Unravel the intricate dance of spousal maintenance or alimony, where divorce grounds can sway the scales of financial support. It’s time to secure your financial future.
  4. Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Find out how to steer clear of courtroom battles by exploring mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods. We’ll be your trusted guides on the path to peaceful resolution.
  5. Legal Separation, Domestic Violence, Modification of Divorce Decree, Divorce Process and Timelines, Property Valuation, Child Support: Trust us, we’ve got a treasure trove of knowledge waiting for you on these essential topics. Each one holds key insights that will empower you throughout the divorce journey.

So, dear reader, fasten your seatbelt and get ready to embark on a thrilling adventure through the world of Texas divorce grounds. Let’s dive in and discover the secrets that lie within the fascinating realm of divorce grounds in the Lone Star State! We promise to entertain, enlighten, and equip you with the knowledge you need to navigate this challenging chapter of your life.

Do You Need a Reason to Divorce? Unveiling the Truth Behind Texas Divorce Grounds

You’ve found yourself here, reading blog posts on a family law attorney’s website, contemplating the unimaginable – divorce. It’s not an easy decision, and it’s clear that you’re seeking answers and guidance. But have you stopped to think about the importance of the grounds you present to the judge when seeking a divorce?

The Significance of Grounds for Divorce

In Texas, divorcing couples must specify their grounds for divorce in the Original Petition for Divorce. To have your divorce petition granted, you must establish a strong foundation based on a valid grounds. It’s not just about saying, “I want a divorce.” You need a valid reason that meets legal justifications. This reason is legally termed a “ground for divorce.”

Fault and No-Fault Grounds in Texas

Texas recognizes seven distinct grounds for divorce, categorized as the fault and no-fault grounds. The ground you choose to cite will significantly impact various aspects of your case. It’s important to note that fault grounds involve blaming your spouse.

Today, we’ll delve into fault grounds for divorce, shedding light on their significance in your divorce proceedings. While you may feel a rush of emotions propelling you towards divorce, understanding the importance of these grounds can give you a distinct advantage over your spouse. So let’s dive in together and explore why fault grounds matter to you and your family.

Fault Ground for Divorce

Impact on Divorce Process


Potential influence on child custody, division of community estate, and spousal support.


Can impact property division, especially if the abandoned spouse has maintained the marital home.


May influence child custody decisions and division of property, especially if cruelty has caused significant emotional distress.

Conviction of Felony

Can affect child custody and visitation rights, as well as property division.

Living Apart

May influence property division if there has been a continuous separation for at least three years.

Confinement in Mental Institution

Can impact child custody, visitation, and property division.


Considered a no-fault ground, focusing on discord or conflict of personalities. May have minimal impact on specific aspects of the divorce process.

Fault Grounds: A Demand for Evidence

If you seek to justify your divorce under the law, citing one of the six fault grounds is crucial. Presenting substantial evidence that proves your spouse’s fault for the marriage breakdown can yield significant benefits. You may be able to argue for more favorable child custody arrangements, a larger share of the community estate, or even spousal maintenance from your ex-partner. In contrast, no-fault divorces don’t carry the “penalties” associated with fault grounds.

Proving a fault ground requires demonstrating to the judge that your spouse is responsible for the marriage’s demise. While you can allege almost anything in your Original Petition for Divorce, the burden of proof lies with you. Testifying under oath, presenting witnesses, and providing documentary evidence can substantiate your claims. Ensuring compelling evidence is paramount to convincing the judge that your spouse is at fault for the divorce.

No-Fault Grounds: Focusing on Incompatibility

In most cases, divorces in Texas are based on no-fault grounds. This implies that you and your spouse can no longer get along and have no hope of reconciliation. It’s easier to claim that neither spouse is at fault, attributing the divorce to discord or an irreparable conflict of personalities. As long as one of you feels this way, your divorce will proceed.

Adultery as a fault ground for divorce

Adultery is probably the most common fault ground for divorce that we see filed for in Texas. Adultery means that your spouse has engaged in a sexual relationship with someone who is not you during your marriage. Often, spouses have feelings or suspicions that their spouse is having an affair. You could come across sketchy text messages or other evidence that causes you some concern. If enough circumstantial or direct evidence piles up, it may lead you to file for divorce based on your spouse’s committing an act(s) of adultery.

The key to proving an allegation of adultery in a divorce case has clear and convincing evidence that your spouse has stepped outside your marriage and engaged in a sexual relationship. This evidence can take many forms. You have probably seen movies or television shows where a person has gone to great lengths to investigate a spouse who may be having an adulterous affair.

What you don’t need to do is to put yourself at risk of harm by trying to catch your spouse in the act. Following your spouse around town, trying to tape your spouse’s phone calls, snooping through their emails or text messages may endanger you or violate state law. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney before doing any of these things to develop evidence.

There are “easier” ways to prove adultery than trying to play detective. For instance, you should keep an eye on your checking account for suspicious activities or charges that show up. If anything doesn’t check out, you should make a note of it. You would be surprised how many people in adulterous relationships use jointly used credit or debit cards for purchases. The use of community funds to pay for gifts for their paramour is a big no-no and could impact what percentage of the community estate your spouse can retain in the divorce.

Clients will sometimes ask whether or not it is ok to “come into the open” with a relationship during the divorce case. Meaning: you have moved out of the marital home and are now living alone. Now that you are no longer sharing a bed with your spouse, can you start to actively and openly date a person you were hiding from your previous spouse?

My advice on this question would be to avoid doing this until you are officially and legally divorced from your spouse. It may feel emotions that you are divorced when you file your petition, but the case is not completed until the judge signs the final divorce decree. However, that won’t be for at least two more months after you file, so you need to play it safe and act like you are still married for as long as your divorce goes on.

Abandonment as a fault ground for divorce

You can also be granted a divorce in Texas if your spouse abandoned you. Your spouse must have chosen to leave your marital home with the expectation of remaining away from you for at least one year. While it may feel like your spouse has emotionally abandoned you multiple times in your marriage, you need to be able to prove a physical abandonment. If your spouse has left you, stayed away for one year, and has no intent to return, then you should have your facts straight to submit an abandonment allegation in your Original Petition for Divorce.

Keep in mind that if you move out of the house and stay away from your spouse initially, that may be enough to negate any abandonment claim you could have made against your spouse. An abandonment claim can be challenging to proceed with because your spouse may be difficult to locate. This opens up issues of service and notifying your spouse that you have even filed for divorce. These are separate issues, however, but ones that you should make sure to ask your attorney about at the outset of your case.

Cruelty as a fault ground for divorce

Cruelty is something that can be proven by showing that your spouse has engaged in willful acts that have caused you pain or suffering. The actions by your spouse must have been so evil, painful, or belligerent to make a living together as husband and wife impossible. Of course, what is cruel to you may not be offensive to be, and vice versa. My kids think it’s not kind when my wife and I don’t have dessert for them after dinner. In a divorce case, cruelty is determined based on the specific circumstances of your case. So much of that determination depends directly on how your judge views cruelty.

While reprehensible, a single act of violence in the home may not substantiate cruelty grounds in a Texas divorce. In most cases, the wrong actions must have been multiple and over a reasonably significant period. If you are simply in a period of your marriage where you and your spouse constantly fight, this probably will not constitute cruelty, for example.

What are the no-fault grounds for divorce?

Generally speaking, no-fault divorces take no evidence to prove and require less time than at-fault divorces. For this reason, the vast majority of cases that our office handles are no-fault divorces. In a no-fault divorce, you do not need to prove that your spouse has done anything precisely wrong that has led to your filing the divorce. One could surmise that they have upset you somehow, or else the divorce would not have been filed. However, there is no need to prove anything specific or submit a certain degree of evidence to substantiate a no-fault divorce.

The first and most common of the no-fault grounds for divorce is insupportability. If you can no longer tolerate being in the marriage, you can cite insupportability as why you are filing for divorce. This is not something that the judge is going to ask you for any evidence to prove. What is insufferable to you may not be unbearable to me, but the judge won’t require you to prove what you can and cannot tolerate.

Living apart from one another as a fault ground for divorce

You may be surprised to learn that spouses will live apart from one another for stretches of their marriage. This may be related to searches for employment, attempts to reconcile while living apart, or other life circumstances. Regardless, if you and your spouse have been living apart for at least three years, you can cite this as the no-fault ground for divorce on which your case is based. That period of living apart must be continuous.

Please note that confinement in a mental institution is another no-fault ground for divorce. However, I have never encountered this situation in any divorce case I have worked on, and since it is so uncommon, I will not devote much time to discussing it here.

Community Property Division

When going through a divorce, one crucial aspect that can be affected by the grounds for divorce is the division of community property in Texas. Community property refers to the assets and debts accumulated during the marriage. Texas follows the community property system, which means that these marital assets and debts are generally divided equally between the spouses upon divorce.

However, the chosen ground for divorce can impact this division. In fault-based divorces, where one spouse is proven to be at fault for the marriage’s breakdown, the court may consider this factor when dividing community property. For example, if a spouse’s adultery or financial misconduct contributed to the divorce, it could influence how the court divides the assets and debts. The spouse found at fault may receive a smaller share of the community property.

On the other hand, in no-fault divorces, such as citing insupportability, where the spouses have experienced irreconcilable differences, the court typically follows an equal division of community property. The reasons behind the divorce are generally not taken into account when dividing assets and debts.

Child Custody and Visitation

Another critical area affected by the grounds for divorce is child custody and visitation arrangements. During divorce proceedings, determining the best interests of the child is the primary concern for the court. The chosen ground for divorce can indirectly impact the court’s decision regarding child custody and visitation.

If fault grounds are cited, such as a spouse’s history of domestic violence or substance abuse, it can significantly influence the court’s assessment of that parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child. In such cases, the court may award sole or primary custody to the innocent spouse, with limited or supervised visitation for the at-fault spouse.

In no-fault divorces, where neither spouse is directly blamed for the marriage’s breakdown, the court typically aims for joint custody or shared parenting arrangements, assuming both parents are fit and capable of caring for the child. The focus is on promoting a healthy and meaningful relationship between the child and both parents, provided it is in the child’s best interests.

Spousal Support

The grounds for divorce can also influence the court’s decision on spousal maintenance or alimony. Spousal support is the financial assistance one spouse may be required to provide to the other during or after the divorce to help maintain their financial well-being.

In fault-based divorces, where one spouse’s misconduct is proven, such as adultery or cruelty, the court may consider this factor when determining spousal support. The spouse found at fault may be ordered to provide more substantial financial support to the innocent spouse, taking into account their economic needs and the duration of the marriage.

In no-fault divorces, spousal support is usually determined based on factors like the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and their individual financial situations. The grounds for divorce are generally not directly linked to the court’s decision regarding spousal support in no-fault cases.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods can be useful in resolving divorce cases outside of court. These approaches offer couples an opportunity to work together with the assistance of a neutral third party to reach mutually agreeable solutions regarding property division, child custody, visitation, and other important issues.

Regardless of the grounds for divorce, couples can choose mediation or alternative dispute resolution to resolve their differences amicably. These processes focus on open communication, negotiation, and finding compromises that suit both parties’ interests. The chosen grounds for divorce may not significantly impact the effectiveness or outcome of mediation or alternative dispute resolution, as they primarily focus on finding common ground and reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.

Legal Separation

In Texas, legal separation is not recognized as a formal legal status. However, couples may choose to separate informally before proceeding with a divorce. This period of separation can be relevant to the grounds for divorce, particularly when it comes to establishing the length of living apart.

The chosen ground for divorce may depend on whether the couple formally separates and meets the criteria for living apart for the specified time. Living apart for an extended period, usually three years, is considered a no-fault ground for divorce in Texas. If couples have been living separately for the required duration, they can cite this as the basis for their divorce.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can significantly impact divorce proceedings, irrespective of the chosen grounds for divorce. If a spouse has been a victim of domestic violence, it is crucial to address this issue during the divorce process to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim and any children involved.

The court takes allegations of domestic violence seriously and may issue protective orders to safeguard the victim and children from further harm. These orders can include provisions for temporary custody, visitation restrictions, and maintaining a safe distance from the victim. The grounds for divorce, such as cruelty or abuse, can provide a basis for seeking protective measures and influencing decisions related to child custody, visitation, and spousal support.

Modification of Divorce Decree

After the divorce decree is finalized, circumstances may change, or new evidence may emerge that could warrant modifications to certain aspects of the decree. Whether the grounds for divorce were fault-based or no-fault, modifications can be pursued under specific circumstances.

For example, suppose a parent can demonstrate a significant change in their financial situation or a substantial change affecting the child’s well-being. In that case, they may seek modifications to child custody, visitation, or child support arrangements. The grounds for divorce may not directly impact the ability to request modifications, as the focus is primarily on the post-divorce changes and the child’s best interests or the affected party.

Divorce Process and Timelines

Understanding the divorce process and its estimated timelines can be helpful for individuals going through a divorce. While the grounds for divorce play a role in the proceedings, the general process and timelines remain consistent regardless of the chosen grounds.

The divorce process in Texas typically involves several stages, including filing the Original Petition for Divorce, serving the petition to the other spouse, negotiation or court hearings, reaching agreements or trial, and obtaining the final divorce decree. The specific timelines can vary depending on the complexity of the case, court availability, and the parties’ cooperation.

Property Valuation

Property valuation is crucial to divorce, regardless of the grounds cited. All marital assets and debts must be identified during the divorce process, characterized as community or separate property, and valued to determine their fair division.

Whether the grounds for divorce involve fault or are based on no-fault grounds, the process of valuing and dividing assets and debts remains consistent. The court aims for an equitable distribution of the community property, considering factors such as the value of assets, contributions of each spouse, and the needs of the parties involved.

Child Support

Child support is an essential consideration in divorces involving children. In Texas, child support calculations are primarily based on guidelines that consider both parents’ income and the number of children.

The chosen grounds for divorce may not directly impact child support calculations. The focus is primarily on the parent’s income and the child’s best interests. However, if the grounds for divorce involve fault-based factors such as financial misconduct, the court may consider these circumstances when determining child support obligations.

Overall, while the grounds for divorce can influence various aspects of the divorce process, such as property division, child custody, and spousal support, specific legal guidelines and considerations remain consistent regardless of the chosen grounds. Understanding these factors can help individuals navigate divorce more effectively and make informed decisions.


Congratulations, fellow explorer of the divorce realm! We’ve traversed the twists and turns of the fault and no-fault grounds, unraveling the mysteries surrounding Texas divorces. But our adventure doesn’t end here; there’s still so much more to discover!

Remember, the short answer to our initial question is a resounding “No, and you don’t need a reason to divorce in Texas.” However, understanding the impact of different grounds can make all the difference in your case. It’s like having a secret treasure map that leads you to favorable outcomes in property division, child custody, spousal support, and more.

So, grab your compass and dive into our treasure trove of divorce subtopics. Learn how grounds can influence community property division, uncover the secrets of adequate child custody arrangements, and discover the pathways to securing the financial support you deserve. We’ll even guide you through the maze of mediation and alternative dispute resolution, shedding light on legal separation, domestic violence concerns, modification of divorce decrees, the divorce process timeline, property valuation, and child support calculations.

But remember, amidst the legal complexities, it’s important to approach this journey with a touch of resilience and a pinch of humor. We understand that divorce is an emotional roller coaster, and we’re here to accompany you with a lighthearted, supportive tone.

So buckle up, fellow adventurer, and continue exploring the depths of divorce grounds in Texas. We’re here to ensure you emerge victorious and well-informed. Let’s embark on this wild ride together, armed with knowledge, wit, and the determination to embrace the new chapter ahead. The path to legal freedom awaits!

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore


Adobe Stock 62844981[2]If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: 16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce

Divorce Wasting Assets[4] If you want to know more about how to prepare, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: 13 Dirty Tricks to Watch Out For in Your Texas Divorce, and How to Counter Them” Today!

Other Related Articles

  1. Conviction of a felony as grounds for a Texas divorce
  2. Cruelty as grounds for divorce in Texas
  3. Do you have grounds for Divorce?
  4. Grounds for a divorce in Texas: Confinement to a mental hospital
  5. What are the grounds for Divorce?
  6. Grounds for Divorce in Texas
  7. Abandonment as grounds for divorce in Texas
  8. An Explanation of the Grounds for Divorce in Texas
  9. How Adultery May Affect Property Division and Texas Divorce Proceedings
  10. How Much Circumstantial Evidence is Needed to Prove Adultery In Texas

Frequently Asked Questions: Texas Divorce

Do you have to explain why you want a divorce?

No, in Texas, you don’t have to explain why you want a divorce. Texas is a no-fault divorce state, which means you can file for divorce based on the grounds of insupportability, indicating that the marriage has become insupportable due to conflict or discord of personalities. It is not necessary to provide specific reasons or fault-based justifications when seeking a divorce.

What is a valid reason for divorce?

In Texas, both fault and no-fault grounds are recognized as valid reasons for divorce. Fault-based grounds include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, conviction of a felony, living apart, and confinement in a mental institution. No-fault grounds, specifically insupportability, imply that there is discord or conflict of personalities, making the continuation of the marriage untenable. Remember, the choice of grounds can impact various aspects of the divorce process.

What is a one-sided divorce in Texas?

A one-sided divorce, also known as an uncontested divorce, occurs when one spouse files for divorce, and the other spouse does not contest it or objects to the divorce. In Texas, an uncontested divorce can proceed more smoothly and quickly compared to a contested divorce, as both parties are in agreement about ending the marriage and have resolved important issues such as child custody, property division, and support. It can be a less stressful and cost-effective option when both spouses are cooperative and willing to work together.

How do you know when it’s time to divorce?

Deciding when it’s time to divorce is a deeply personal and individual choice. Every situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, some signs that may indicate it’s time to consider divorce include persistent unhappiness or dissatisfaction in the marriage, a lack of trust or communication, irreconcilable differences, emotional or physical abuse, infidelity, or a fundamental incompatibility that prevents personal growth and fulfillment. It’s essential to carefully evaluate your circumstances, seek counseling or support, and make a decision that aligns with your well-being and long-term happiness.

Share this article