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Understanding Grounds For Divorce In Texas

In Texas, you must choose a ground, or reason, for filing divorce. The state allows both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Those grounds are:

Insupportability: This is the only no-fault ground for divorce, and it is the most common ground chosen by divorcing Texans. Essentially, it means that discord or conflict prevents the marriage from continuing.

Cruelty: This can be emotional, mental or physical cruelty. A victim of domestic violence may choose to file for divorce on this ground.

Adultery: This is when one spouse is unfaithful and engages in an extramarital affair.

Conviction of a felony: This ground can be used when one spouse is convicted of a felony, incarcerated for a period of a year or longer, and has not been pardoned.

Abandonment: This ground can be used when one spouse has left the other for a period of a year or longer with the intention of abandoning the marriage.

Living apart: If the spouses have not cohabitated for a period of three years or more, divorce can be filed on this ground.

Confinement in a mental hospital: This ground can be used when one spouse is in a mental hospital for a period of three years or more, and there is either no hope of recovery or the chances of relapse upon recovery are high.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Ground For Divorce

The majority of people who file for divorce in Texas do so on the no-fault ground of insupportability. This is not necessarily because there was no fault leading to the divorce, but because they wish to avoid the additional layer of complexity that might come with choosing to file divorce on a fault-based ground.

When someone files for divorce on a fault-based ground, Texas law requires that party to prove fault. In some cases, this may be straightforward. For example, a victim of cruelty may use police reports and the other spouse's conviction for domestic violence as evidence. In other cases though, such as when filing on the ground of adultery, it may be more challenging to come up with evidence.

However, there may be good reason to file a fault-based divorce. If one spouse has been the victim of domestic abuse or adultery, for example, it can have an impact on the outcome in terms of property division, alimony and even child custody.

Before moving forward, you may want to have an in-depth conversation with an experienced lawyer to determine how to proceed. At the law firm of Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, we will listen to you, carefully review your situation and help you make the decision that makes the most sense for you.

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