When you file divorce paperwork in Texas, the critical document you will complete is the "Original Petition for Divorce." In it, you will list biographical information about your family and asset information about your marriage.
You will also need to complete a critical section in which you state your "grounds for divorce" or the reason why your marriage has ended. The grounds you declare can significantly impact the course of your divorce. You will want to choose your grounds for divorce with care. Here is some information to help you make an informed decision.
There are seven valid grounds to specify in a divorce petition. Six are fault grounds and one (insupportability) no-fault grounds. Those grounds include:
- Living apart
- Confinement in a mental hospital
- Conviction of a felony
Couples seeking a divorce in Texas have options. They can file immediately for divorce using a ground such as insupportability (basically meaning they no longer wish to be married).
Separating During Divorce
Texas does not require physical separation to file for divorce. The petition will have place asking about the separation date. Many people place the date they file for divorce.
Many couples do choose to separate during a divorce. It should be noted that maintaining two households after living together in one can add a substantial financial burden to the process of getting a divorce.
Should I file for Divorce Alleging Fault?
A client and their Texas family law attorney should determine what other grounds (or grounds) for divorce are most appropriate. Any additional grounds will be stated explicitly in the Petition for Divorce.
Common Grounds for Divorce
In the 1970s, Texas joined many other states by adding "insupportability" as a "no-fault" ground for divorce. Using insupportability allows divorcing couples to begin their legal proceedings more civilized manner, without specific accusations that can often result in a more contentious divorce.
Insupportability as a ground for divorce means that at least one of the spouses wants a divorce.
A spouse in Texas can cite Cruelty as grounds for divorce under Texas Family Code Section 6.002. Pleading this in a petition is easy enough to do, but proving it to a Court is more complicated.
Cruel treatment means the behavior of one spouse is so extreme as to make it impossible for the parties to live together under the same roof.
This cruel treatment can be physical or emotional. Evidence can be hard to come by to prove cruel treatment in a divorce, so a party who wishes to plead cruel treatment as a ground for divorce ought to be open and honest with the attorney so that necessary evidence can be located.
Multiple Grounds for Divorce
Sometimes, more than one ground for divorce is listed in the Petition for Divorce.
While this is allowed, having more than one ground for divorce will not necessarily carry any additional weight with the judge in the case.
What are the grounds for divorce in the State of Texas?
There are several grounds for divorce in the State of Texas. You need to choose at least one of the grounds to file a petition to be recognized and eligible for an ultimate divorce judgment.
The most common ground utilized today is insupportability. That merely indicates that one of the spouses no longer wants to be married. The actual language used in an Original Petition for Divorce is that "the marriage has become insupportable because of discord and conflict, which destroys the legitimate end of the marriage relationship, and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation."
You do not have to identify what constitutes "discord and conflict, which destroys the legitimate end of the marriage relationship and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation," just merely that there has been one.
It is one of the most respectful grounds that you can use. Even though it is challenging to receive a petition for divorce in many cases, receiving one with supportability as the ground for divorce is often the least offensive one you can receive.
Other grounds for divorce are adultery, Cruelty, living apart, abandonment. Legally speaking, living apart means that you have been living in separate physical residences for at least three years.
There's also the ground of abandonment, which is similar. You will need to prove that:
- that the other spouse left the marital home and did not intend to return, and
- The spouse will need to prove that the abandoning spouse has been out of the home for at least one year, with no contact made with the spouse still living in the marital residence.
There are several grounds for divorce that you can utilize. Talk to a divorce and family attorney and find out which ground or grounds best meet your needs.
Infidelity, Adultery & Divorce FAQsHow do I find out if my spouse has cheated on me?
To find out if your spouse has been unfaithful to you, you may hire a private investigator who will assist you in that regard.
In addition, during the discovery process of a divorce, your attorney will have the ability to make discovery requests, including subpoenas, depositions, financial documents, etc., that may help to show adultery has occurred.
Does cheating affect equitable distribution, alimony, or child support in a divorce?
If successful in proving a fault ground for divorce specified below, the party may divide the community estate better.
Even if a fault ground is pleaded, a Judge has the discretion of granting the divorce on the ground of insupportability instead.
Amount and Duration of Spousal Support
In addition, if a spouse is eligible under the law to receive spousal support under Texas Law and a Judge is inclined to award spousal support. A Judge may consider marital fault when awarding the amount and duration of spousal support in the divorce.
Every divorce case is unique, so it is vital for anyone filing for divorce in Texas to be represented by an accomplished TX Family Law attorney who appreciates the advantages and disadvantages of using specific grounds for divorce. Only an attorney who focuses on TX family law has the experience to guide you towards the most appropriate ground for your situation.
To learn more about starting the divorce process, divorce documents, or general questions about divorce in TX, please contact us.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, 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.