7 Grounds For Divorce In Texas
Chances are, if you are looking into a divorce, you most likely already have your reasoning on why you want to call it quits. But did you know that for a judge to grant you your divorce, your reason for requesting the divorce must fall into one of the seven categories recognized by the state of Texas in the Family Law codes?
The term grounds for divorce refers to the reasoning behind wanting to end your marriage. The grounds of divorce may affect your case depending on how it is presented.
Why do grounds for divorce exist?
Society takes marriage very seriously and in most instances is not encouraged to end a marriage unless there are legitimate reasons to do so. In the past, most states required one of the individuals to be at fault in order to grant a divorce. Today, many states, including Texas, permit no-fault divorces, which allow couples to simply say they no longer get along and are requesting a divorce.
There are seven grounds for divorce under the Texas Family Law Codes 6.001-6.007:
Insupportability happens to be the most common reason for divorce in Texas. Insupportability, more commonly known as irreconcilable difference, means that the marriage has become insupportable because of discord and conflict , destroying the relationship and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
Neither spouse expects to be able to ever get along well enough to proceed with the marriage, so divorce is requested.
Insupportability is considered a no-fault divorce reason and both parties must agree to use insupportability as a grounds for divorce.
In Texas, an individual can cite cruelty as a grounds for divorce under Texas Family Code Section 6.002, however, proving this in court while possible, has its challenges.
The cruel treatment towards a spouse must be so extreme that it is impossible for the parties to live in the same home.
Cruel treatment can be physical or emotional. To prove cruel treatment in a divorce, the party pleading cruelty needs to be open and honest with their attorney to gather the necessary evidence.
Another common ground for divorce is adultery. From a legal perspective, adultery is having sexual intercourse with a person while married to another person.
Adultery may be hard to prove and often the grounds for divorce will most likely end up being insupportability.
Conviction of a felony
A person may plead their souse’s conviction of a felony as grounds for divorce under Texas Family Code Section 6.004.
In order to use conviction of a felony as reasoning for a divorce, the spouse who was convicted must have spent at least one year in prison, and a pardon must not have been granted in his or her case.
Conviction of a felony is not commonly used as a ground for divorce.
Abandonment is a ground for divorce under Texas Family Code Section 6.005.
To use abandonment as a ground for divorce, the spouse must show:
The other spouse left the marital home with no intentions of returning; and
The other spouse has been out of the home for at least one year and has not had any contact with their spouse living in the marital residence.
Similar to abandonment, living apart is found under Texas Family Code Section 6.006.
If the married couple has been living apart for at least three years, they may be able plead living apart as a ground for divorce.
Most people who use this as a ground for divorce state they have been separated and never got around to filing for divorce and are doing so now.
Confinement in a mental hospital
Another uncommon legal ground for divorce is Confinement in a Mental Hospital under Section 6.007 of The Texas Family Code.
The individual’s spouse must have been confined in a state or private mental hospital for at least three years, and there are no signs your spouse’s mental disorder will get better without relapse.
Choosing and proving grounds for divorce in Texas
An at-fault divorce can affect some details of the case such as the amount of spousal support and the division of assets. Child custody can also be affected, especially if cruelty has been proven as the ground for divorce.
Evidence is required to prove your grounds for divorce just like any accusation in a court of law. For example, if you are claiming cruelty, police reports and hospital records showing domestic violence would be critical to your case.
What about a defense to divorce?
Condonation is the only defense for any of the seven grounds for divorce.
Condonation is the forgiveness by one spouse of the other spouse’s wrongful behavior.
In order for the court to find condonation and deny fault in the divorce, the following are required:
- The condoning spouse knows about the other spouse’s wrongful behavior
- The condoning spouse forgives the offending spouse
This will be granted if the court finds that there is a reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
No matter what the grounds for divorce, we understand this is a difficult situation, which is why we are here to help. If you are considering filing for divorce, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced family attorney at The Carlson Law Firm. Our attorneys have been protecting the rights of families across Central Texas since 1976. We are available 24/7. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.