The divorce rate in the U.S. is shockingly high. There are many reasons that couples cannot maintain their relationship and decide to part ways. Texas law provides for both a no-fault divorce and a divorce based upon fault grounds.
A No-Fault Divorce in Texas
The Texas Family Code allows for 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.” TFC Sec. 6.001. A no-fault divorce normally is less contentious and helps keep to a minimum the painful emotions naturally associated with a divorce.
When Divorce Petitions Allege Fault
Texas Family Code Section 6 also provides for a divorce to be filed based on fault. The fault grounds include:
- Cruelty to a degree that makes living together insupportable.
- Adultery. If adultery is established, there is no defense to adultery.
- One spouse has been convicted of a felony, has been imprisoned for at least one year and has not been pardoned. If the only witness against the spouse who was convicted is the testimony of the complaining spouse, the felony conviction cannot be used as grounds for divorce.
- Abandonment. This is a fault ground for divorce if one spouse leaves the other with the intent to abandon them and stays away for at least one year.
- Living apart for at least three years with no cohabitation.
- Confinement in a mental hospital. To use this as a fault ground for divorce, one spouse must have been confined to a mental hospital for at least three years and there is little hope of recovery for the mentally ill spouse.
The two most commonly alleged fault grounds are cruelty and adultery. Often, when divorce petitions start out alleging fault, if the parties settle their differences through collaborative divorce or mediation, the divorce may be granted on the no fault ground.
Effect of COVID-19 on Divorce Petitions
It seems like with the stay-at-home orders, couples do not have the distractions they used to have. For example, in the past, if there was conflict at home, one party might go to a meeting or to a club, or even go shopping just to get away for a while and diffuse the situation. When there is no outlet for a spouse’s frustration, we have seen an increased number of divorce filings.
Contact an Experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney for More Information About Divorce
No matter where you are at in the divorce process, or if you want to discuss your options, schedule a free initial consultation with a Dallas Family Law Attorney. Contact Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices at 214-420-1800.