Grounds for Divorce in Texas…Family Lawyer Explains
Before filing for divorce, it is important to know what exactly will qualify as a proper ground for divorce under the Texas Family Code.
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Let’s jump right in…
Texas law has listed the following as proper grounds for divorce: insupportability, cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart, and confinement in a mental hospital. It is important to note that Texas is a “no-fault divorce state”; this means that if one spouse files for a divorce, it is not necessary that the non-filing spouse have committed what constitutes “a bad act”. The Texas Family Code defines these grounds as listed below (Tex. Fam. Code § 6.001 – 6.007):
Divorce may be granted due to insupportabiliity – more commonly known as irreconcilable differences – if “the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” This is the most common ground for divorce in Texas; again, fault will not be considered in this ground.
Divorce may be granted in favor of one spouse due to cruelty if, “the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.” The statute is vague as to what constitutes cruel treatment.
Divorce may be granted in favor of one spouse due to adultery if, “if the other spouse has committed adultery”. Again, the statute is vague as to what constitutes adultery.
Conviction of a Felony
Divorce may be granted in favor of one spouse if during the marriage, the other spouse has:
- has been convicted of a felony;
- has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state; and
- has not been pardoned.
- The court may not grant a divorce under this section against a spouse who was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.
Divorce may be granted in favor of one spouse if the other spouse:
(1) left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment; and
(2) remained away for at least one year.
Divorce may be granted in favor of either spouse if “the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.”
Confinement in a Mental Hospital
Divorce may be granted in favor of one spouse if at the time the suit is filed:
(1) the other spouse has been confined in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital, as defined in Section 571.003, Health and Safety Code, in this state (Texas) or another state for at least three years; and
(2) it appears that the hospitalized spouse’s mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that, if adjustment occurs, a relapse is probable.
What About Defense to Divorce?
The only defense for any of the above-listed grounds is condonation, which is only granted “if the court finds that there is a reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Whether or not there is reasonable expectation of reconciliation is left to the discretion of the court.
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