The decision to permanently split from your spouse is a serious one. If you’ve come to the conclusion that this is what’s best for your family, however, you will need to know what the necessary grounds for a divorce are in the state of Texas and consider contacting a qualified Austin divorce lawyer. The claimant will have to list an acceptable reason for the divorce in the initial petition, otherwise, the courts may not grant the request. Texas Family Code Title 1, Subtitle C, Chapter 6, lists seven possible grounds for divorce in the state:
Insupportability is the state’s only no-fault grounds for divorce. This means that neither party has to prove the fault of the other party for the courts to finalize the divorce. Insupportability states that the marriage has simply become insupportable because of a conflict of personalities or discord in the marriage. To prove a divorce case on the grounds of insupportability, the claimant must show that a discord of personalities has prevented any chance of reconciling the marriage.
Other states refer to a similar grounds for divorce as “irreconcilable differences.” Insupportability is the most common grounds for divorce in Texas. If the courts accept this, the couple can proceed with the dissolution of marriage without having to prove one spouse or the other’s fault. Regardless of whether a couple files for a fault or no-fault divorce, the state will use Community Property laws to divide marital assets 50/50.
The second grounds for divorce in Texas is on the basis of cruelty, meaning one spouse is guilty of cruel treatment towards the other spouse. The act of cruelty must be enough to “render further living together insupportable.” Cruelty often takes the form of domestic violence or abuse in divorce cases in Texas.
Adultery refers to a married person having sexual relations with someone other than his or her wife or husband. Texas family courts permit a couple to divorce based on the grounds that one or both parties is guilty of adultery. One claimant may have to prove that his/her spouse is guilty of adultery if the spouse contests the divorce.
Conviction of a Felony
It is possible to get a divorce in Texas if your spouse receives a felony conviction. The criminal courts must have found the spouse guilty of a felony during the marriage. The spouse must have also been in prison in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a penitentiary in a different state, or a federal penitentiary for at least one year for this type of divorce. Finally, the courts must not have pardoned the spouse. Note the law prohibits the courts to grant a divorce on the grounds of a felony conviction if it was the claimant’s testimony that led to the spouse’s conviction.
If one spouse has abandoned the other, the courts may grant a divorce petition in favor of the abandoned spouse. “Abandonment”, according to Texas law, means the spouse left with the intent to abandon and stayed away for at least one year.
Living apart (without any cohabitation) for three years or longer qualifies a couple for a divorce. Note that the courts will likely see even one night spent together as cohabitation, so be careful about your timeline if you’re separated.
Confinement in a Mental Hospital
Finally, confinement of one spouse in a state or private mental hospital in Texas or another state for at least three years is grounds for divorce. This is only applicable if physicians deem the spouse’s mental condition so severe that adjustment is unlikely and relapse is probable.
Most couples fulfill at least one of these seven possible grounds for divorce in Texas. If not, annulment, separation, or declaring a marriage void could be more appropriate choices for you and your spouse. Contact a qualified divorce attorney in Austin to discuss your divorce case in detail by giving us a call or submitting a form online.