Texas offers several legal options for divorce, including contested, uncontested, fault, and no-fault divorces. Here are the types and grounds for every kind of divorce in Texas.
What is Divorce?
Divorce dissolves a marriage or legal partnership. After a divorce, the state considers each spouse legally single. Both spouses may remarry or pursue another domestic partnership after divorcing. Spouses should distinguish divorce from legal separation. Legal separation does not dissolve the marriage or partnership but can allow for child support and visitation orders in court, similar to divorce.
Contested v. Uncontested Divorces
Contested and uncontested divorces are crucial in determining the divorce process. In a contested divorce, one party does not agree on the divorce or assets involved. Contested divorces may involve particular degrees of “fault” on one spouse, initiating the divorce process. However, not all contested divorces require fault. Instead, one party wishes to continue the marital relationship, and the other does not.
Contested divorces can be lengthier because parties may argue over unresolved issues until they solve them through mediation. If mediation is unavailable, a judge will conceive the divorce terms.
Contrarily, in uncontested divorces, the parties agree on a divorce and the distribution of all assets. The uncontested divorce process can be simplified and less expensive than a contested divorce due to the marriage’s previous agreement on assets. To file for an uncontested divorce, spouses must agree on property division, debt allocation, and spousal support (including child support if there are children involved in the marriage).
The grounds for divorce in an uncontested divorce are usually “insupportability.” However, spouses can file uncontested divorces on any grounds defined by Texas law, as long as both parties agree.
Fault v. No-Fault Divorces
Determining the grounds for divorce in Texas is important. Divorce can be “fault” or “no-fault.” In a “fault” divorce, a spouse must have committed some form of misconduct in the marriage to warrant a divorce. In a “no-fault” divorce, the parties experience “irreconcilable differences,” meaning both parties no longer benefit from the marriage and wish to separate.
Each U.S. state may require a certain degree of “fault” to be present to file for divorce. Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning a spouse’s proof of misconduct is not necessary to file for divorce. The degree of fault requirement can differ state by state.
“No-fault” divorce states do not require both spouses to agree on the divorce. Either party may issue for divorce, and one party’s lack of participation does not void the issuance of divorce. A judge may issue a default judgment in favor of the filing spouse in such a situation.
However, the filing spouse must state that the marriage or partnership is no longer mutually beneficial or salvageable to be eligible for divorce.
“Fault” divorces, in contrast, require specific grounds to be met to prove the misconduct of a spouse. These grounds differentiate on a state-by-state basis.
Grounds for Divorce in Texas
Several grounds for divorce under Texas law include:
1. Insupportability (no-fault)
Spouses may issue a divorce without fault if there is a conflict of personalities, destroying the marriage’s legitimacy and preventing any kind of reconciliation.
A spouse can file for divorce if their spouse treats them cruelly, preventing any form of reconciliation.
A court may file a divorce in proof of committed adultery by a spouse.
4. Conviction of Felony
A spouse may seek divorce if their spouse committed a felony or has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal prison, or another state’s jail without pardon. The court will not issue a divorce if a spouse is convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.
If a spouse leaves intending to abandon their spouse and remains away for at least a year, the court may grant the abandoned spouse a divorce.
6. Living apart
The court may issue a divorce if the spouses have lived apart for at least three years without cohabitation.
7. Confinement in a Mental Hospital
Spouses might file for divorce if their spouse was confined in a mental hospital or private mental hospital, as defined in Section 571.003 of Texas’s Health and Safety Code, for at least three years in Texas or another state. The affected spouse’s mental disorder must be unlikely to recover, or relapse is probable if they do recover.