Grounds for Divorce in Texas


“That's grounds for divorce!” No spouse hasn't laughingly said that at least once during a happy marriage. But what if the laughing stops and the marriage is no longer happy? Then one spouse may decide it's time to file for divorce. A divorce legally begins with the filing of a petition, and in that petition, that spouse must state the grounds or reasons why he or she is seeking that divorce.

In Texas, legal grounds for divorce are divided into fault or no fault. The no fault divorce is the most common. Faster, simpler, and cheaper, spouses give no reason for the divorce. They simply agree that the marriage is insupportable and there is no possibility of reconciliation. This way, they are able to make decisions about asset division and custody issues on their own without having to prove fault. No fault divorces include three specific areas: insupportability, separation, and mental incapacitation.

Insupportability, or irreconcilable differences, is where neither party holds the other responsible for a specific act that ended the marriage. They give conflict of ideas, beliefs, or personalities as the reasons for making living together intolerable. Separation, or living apart, is when the couple has not cohabited for at least three years. The court must see that this is something both parties agreed to, based on the fact that they have been apart for so long. Mental incapacitation is when one spouse has been admitted to a private or state mental facility after the marriage began and is still a patient there for at least three years by the time the divorce petition has been filed. Also, the spouse is unlikely to improve, or any improvement will not be permanent. The filing spouse will need records from the facility and possibly testimony from the patient's doctor here. However, in this type of divorce, the first spouse does not automatically get every marital possession. The court will appoint a guardian to represent the incapacitated spouse during the proceedings.

Fault divorces, however, are more complicated. Here, one spouse claims the other is responsible for ending the marriage and it falls on him or her to prove to the judge what that act was. Fault divorces are adultery, abandonment, incarceration, and cruelty. Abandonment is when a spouse leaves the first spouse against that spouse's will and is gone for at least a year. The spouse must prove the first spouse never intended to return in order to win this case. In cases of adultery, the spouse must prove the other engaged in sexual intercourse outside the marriage. A private investigator might be involved, as well as eyewitnesses. However, it’s difficult to prove actual sexual intercourse as is required. The easiest way to prove it is the husband getting another woman pregnant. In felony conviction, a spouse may file for divorce if the other spouse was arrested during the marriage and had been incarcerated in a state or federal prison for at least one year. In cases of cruelty, a spouse must willfully cause pain and suffering to the other. For domestic reasons, records of injuries from medical facilities and police reports would offer necessary proof. Witness accounts and written accounts, such as emails, could help prove emotional cruelty.