Texas family law recognizes both no-fault and fault based divorces in the state. Simply, the answer to ‘is Texas a no-fault divorce state?’, is yes, however it is not exclusively a no-fault state and there are various options available to you when filing for your divorce.
There are further considerations to weigh up when deciding if a no-fault divorce or a fault based divorce is right for you. These include, how this could impact the division of assets within the marital estate, or how complex each of the processes may be in relation to your priorities. A reputable family law attorney can talk through your options with you and help you decide the best path for you.
The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC divorce attorneys are highly experienced in fault-based divorce and no-fault divorce. They can advise you and help you weigh up your options and priorities to determine the approach that is in your best interests.
Is Texas a Fault or No-Fault Divorce State?
Texas family law states that Texas is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the acceptable grounds for divorce recognized by the law in Texas are more broad than those in exclusively at-fault divorce states. This can make the divorce process more simple for those in Texas looking to start divorce proceedings, however this is not the only option, and an at-fault divorce is still an available option in Texas if it is the right approach for your circumstances.
In some no-fault states, a no-fault divorce is the only option, however this is not the case in Texas, and you have the freedom to choose what is best for the parties involved.
The Basic Principles of a No-Fault Divorce in Texas
The main component of a no-fault divorce in Texas is that neither party needs to prove any wrongdoing or that their spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marital relationship. ‘Insupportability’, or discord within the marriage, due to irreconcilable differences between spouses is considered as an adequate justification to file for a no-fault divorce.
There are three no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas law, the first is insupportability or irreconcilable differences; the second is living apart without cohabitating for 3 years or more; and the third is confinement to a mental hospital, again the party must have been confined for at least three years.
As there is no requirement to prove claims under a no-fault divorce, the spouse can not dispute any claims made by their partner. As such, if one individual in the marriage wants a divorce, the marriage will come to an end with no opportunity for legal dispute by their partner. As such, no-fault divorce may be an option for you if you are looking for a divorce but your spouse does not want this.
As with any divorce petition in Texas, there is a mandatory 60 day waiting period after filing for a no-fault divorce before the divorce can be finalized by the court. Divorces where two spouses are unable come to an agreement often take much longer than the mandatory 60 days. However, no-fault divorces are likely to be a more timely process than fault based divorces.
Fault Based Divorce in Texas
In a fault based divorce, one party will need to prove to the court that the breakdown of the marriage is their spouse’s fault. In Texas divorce law, there are 4 categories of fault grounds that are recognized.
Proving fault requires the collation of evidence and arguing your case to a Judge in order to convince them of both your spouse’s misconduct and that this should have an impact on how the division of assets is weighted. This is where your divorce lawyer will fight your case to gain the best settlement for you in your circumstances.
There are four categories of fault grounds in Texas divorce law; adultery, cruelty, abandonment and felony conviction.
If you can prove that your spouse has cheated on you, then this is grounds for a fault based divorce.
In Texas, any extra-marital relationships that occur by either spouse even after you have filed for divorce and are no longer living together, can still be considered adultery until the divorce is finalized. This may impact the Judge’s decision and count against you during the divorce process.
Texas divorce law defines cruelty in this context as cruel treatment of the spouse that was of such a nature that it renders further living together insupportable. This can be somewhat subjective and open to interpretation, your lawyer can advise if your circumstances fall into this category.
Abandonment in a fault based divorce is when your spouse voluntarily left you and has intent to abandon you. To prove abandonment, there are two criteria to meet. Your spouse must have abandoned you for at least 1 year and they must have left with the intention of abandoning you. Leaving for work or a military deployment for example, would not be grounds for abandonment.
If your spouse has been convicted of a felony within the duration of the marriage, and has spent at least 1 year in a state or federal penitentiary or department of criminal justice, then this is grounds for a fault based divorce. These grounds are only applicable if your spouse has not been pardoned for their felony conviction.
How Does Adultery Impact Divorce in Texas?
In a no-fault divorce in Texas, the court will seek to divide assets fairly and equitably between the divorcing couple. However, if fault is proven, such as if a spouse has committed adultery, then this may be taken into account and the party deemed to be at fault may be awarded less in the divorce settlement.
Whether you are being accused of adultery or are accusing your spouse, you will almost certainly require a reputable divorce lawyer to help you prove your case to the court and convince a Judge that this should have an impact on the divorce terms. However, adultery will not play a role in determining child support.
How do I file for a No-Fault Divorce?
Several documents are required to file for divorce, including the petition for divorce and additional documentation if children are involved. Your lawyer can assist you with all of the paperwork that you will require to file for your divorce.
To file divorce papers in Texas, at least one member of the couple needs to be classed as a “continuous resident” of Texas for at least six months. Additionally, you will need to file for divorce in the county that you lived in, and it is a requirement to have lived in that county for at least 90 days.
Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC for your Divorce
There are a range of options in Texas divorces dependent on your circumstances. No fault divorces are common, as most cases are more simple than a divorce based on fault. However, as both options are available to Texans, it is vital that you and your divorce lawyer evaluate your options carefully to ensure that you receive a sufficient settlement that is fit for your situation.
The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC is a team of experienced divorce attorneys that can guide you through this process and represent your best interests throughout. Contact us on 832-843-1691 to find your divorce lawyer.