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What are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

There are seven different grounds for divorce in Texas state law. In order for a divorce to be granted by the court, at least one of these seven conditions must have been met.

There are two types of divorce grounds in the Texas Family Code: a “fault” divorce and a “no-fault” divorce.

Special Note

A “fault” versus “no-fault” divorce is not the same thing as a contested divorce versus an uncontested divorce, where the spouses either do or do not have any disputes about dividing property, child custody, and making support payments.

What are the No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

A “no-fault” divorce grounds occurs when neither spouse is found not to have actively done anything wrong to undermine the marriage, but the marriage has still failed anyway. No-fault divorces tend to be quicker and less expensive, with a more equal division of shared assets. There are three no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas law:

  • Insupportability
    Also known as “irreconcilable differences,” this is a big catch-all category. In practice, an “unsupportable” marriage can mean almost anything: a lack of shared interests, conflicting personalities, endless arguments, and so on. Generally (though not always), this is the divorce grounds that couples choose when both spouses agree to the divorce on positive, cooperative terms.
  • Living Apart
    If a couple has lived apart from one another for at least three consecutive years, the state will consider this a grounds for divorce. It will also likely figure into the division of property—for example, if one spouse has had the car for all that time, and the other has had the house.
  • Confinement to a Mental Institution
    If one spouse is confined to a mental institution for at least three years, and has a very poor chance of recovery (or a very high chance of relapse in the event of a recovery), this is grounds for a divorce. Bear in mind that the court will likely appoint a guardian to represent the incapacitated spouse’s interests.

What are the At-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

In the case of at-fault grounds for divorce, one (or both) spouses is said to be at fault for undermining the marriage. In most cases such a finding will greatly influence the judge’s final ruling against the at-fault spouse when it comes to the division of property, custody, and support payments.

There are four fault grounds for divorce in Texas law:

  • Cruelty
    “Cruelty” covers a broad range of conduct. It can be an action or a pattern of behavior. It can be physical, emotional, or psychological. It can be a single event, such as a physical attack, or it can be years of small insults and disrespect that gradually added up. Some amount of proof must be provided.
  • Abandonment
    Abandonment occurs when one spouse voluntarily leaves with no intention of returning. Abandonment must have lasted for at least one full year before it can be counted as grounds for divorce in Texas.
  • Adultery
    This one is self-explanatory. As with other forms of at-fault divorce, proof must be provided. It is also worth noting that any acts of adultery committed during the divorce proceedings, if they are discovered, can be factored into the judge’s final ruling.
  • Felony Conviction
    If one spouse (or both) has had a felony conviction, the Texas Family Code accepts this as an at-fault grounds for divorce, as the tragedy of a felony conviction can fundamentally undermine a marriage’s trust, as well as its financial stability and its day-to-day viability (as an imprisoned spouse will be absent).

Contact Ramos Law Group to Handle Your Divorce

The judge in your divorce case is the person who will make a final determination of fault or no-fault. They will listen to the arguments from both sides, consider all the evidence, and may end up agreeing with one side over the other—or with neither side.

Ramos Law Group handles all seven grounds for divorce in Texas. We have the legal experience to build a strong case on your behalf. Contact us today for a consultation.

Last Updated on April 21, 2023 by Mary E. Ramos

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Mary E. Ramos

Mary E. Ramos is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is recognized and respected throughout the Houston legal community for dedication in effectively representing clients’ rights and interests. Mary understands the emotional side of divorce and brings a special compassion to each and every case.

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