Grounds for Divorce: Texas

Every divorce case that is filed in the state of Texas must declare the grounds in which the divorce is to be granted. In order to proceed, the grounds for divorce must be backed up by evidence or testimony from witnesses, otherwise the court may dismiss the case. Filing the Petition for Divorce with the court is the first step. Through this document, the filing spouse will request the court to terminate the marriage under certain specified grounds.

In Texas there are two basic kinds of divorce cases: fault-based grounds and no-fault based grounds.

In a no-fault based grounds for divorce case, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault 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.” In other words, the spouses have agreed that they just can’t live together anymore, the marriage is beyond repair and they are unwilling to go further to resolve their differences. They agree that splitting up is the best option, and they agree outside of court on issues like division of property and child care and support.

Fault-based cases in Texas can be filed for the following reasons:

1. CRUELTY

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of “cruel treatment” toward the complaining spouse that makes living together further impossible. Cruelty can take the form of mental or physical, either one making a spouse’s life unbearable in the marriage.

2. ADULTERY

Divorce may be granted in Texas if one spouse has been unfaithful to the other by having a physical relationship outside the marriage. The two main areas where adultery can affect how a divorce is settled are the division of property and child custody. If the adultery occurred around the child, it could result in reduced visitation rights for the adulterous parent. Also, being found to have committed adultery in your marriage could result in the loss of up to 60 percent of the common property, according to Texas legal experts.

3. CONVICTION OF FELONY.

A Texas divorce court may grant a divorce, if during the marriage the other spouse,  has been convicted of a felony; has been imprisoned for at least one year in the State Penitentiary, a Federal Penitentiary, or another state penitentiary and has not been pardoned by the state for their crime. It’s important to note, however, the court may not grant a divorce under these grounds if the spouse was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.

4. ABANDONMENT

Under these grounds a divorce may be granted  if the other spouse left the complaining spouse “with the intention of abandonment,” and remained away for at least one year. Abandonment is defined by the intention to leave and never come back. If a spouse leaves the home for safety or emotional reasons during a divorce, this does not constitute abandonment. If a spouse leaves the home and the state they are likely to lose their rights to custody, experienced lawyers say.

5. LIVING APART

The court may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if they have lived apart “without cohabitation” for at least three years. This means a complete and total separation; living in different homes with no time spent together in that time frame.

6. CONFINEMENT IN MENTAL HOSPITAL

In Texas, the court may grant a divorce if – at the time the Petition for Divorce is filed –  the other spouse has been confined in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital, as defined in Section 571.003 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, in Texas or another state for at least three years; and “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.” (Texas Code – Family Code – Chapters: 6.001-6.007)

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