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What Are the Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

Posted on in Complex Divorce

TX divorce lawyerIn recent years, many states have eliminated the option to file for divorce on fault-based grounds and transitioned entirely to no-fault divorces on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. In Texas, however, no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce both remain options. If you or your spouse chooses to file for a fault-based divorce, you should be sure to understand how this can affect the outcome of your resolution.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

In order to file for a fault-based divorce in Texas, the filing spouse must be prepared to demonstrate that one or more of the following has occurred in the marriage:

  • Adultery - This means that a spouse has engaged in some sort of extramarital affair. The Texas Family Code used to specify valid defenses to a divorce on the grounds of adultery, but these defenses are no longer available except in rare cases in which reconciliation may be possible.
  • Cruelty - As grounds for divorce, cruelty is broadly defined. It could mean that a spouse has committed an act that is legally recognized as family violence, such as physical or sexual assault, or that a spouse has engaged in verbal or emotional abuse.
  • Abandonment - In order to qualify for divorce on the grounds of abandonment, one spouse must have intentionally left the other and stayed away for at least a year.
  • Conviction of felony - If a spouse has been convicted of a felony offense in Texas, and, as a result, has been imprisoned for at least a year, there may be grounds for a fault-based divorce.

Filing for divorce on fault-based grounds makes it much more likely that the divorce will be contested and that litigation will be necessary. Even if you have justification for filing for divorce on fault-based grounds, you may find that pursuing a no-fault divorce and working toward a settlement with your spouse is a better option.

The Effects of Fault-Based Divorce

If the court finds that there is sufficient evidence to grant a fault-based divorce, this can influence many aspects of the divorce resolution. For example, if the divorce is granted in favor of one spouse, that spouse may receive a more favorable share of community property or a larger amount of spousal maintenance. In the case of a divorce on the grounds of cruelty in which family violence is a factor, the “at-fault” spouse could also be excluded from custody or conservatorship of their child.

Contact a Texas Divorce Lawyer

At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, our experienced attorneys know how to handle contested divorce cases. We can advise you as to whether filing for divorce on fault-based grounds is in your best interest, or help you prepare if your spouse has filed for a fault-based divorce against you. Call our Austin complex divorce attorneys today at 512-610-6199 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help.




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