Grounds for Divorce in Texas

We have all heard someone say “That is Grounds for Divorce” either in an old TV rerun or possibly in our personal lives. For most of the history of Texas you had to have what is known as a “fault ground” to be able to be divorced. Without one of these grounds the Court would not allow you to be Divorced. After the law in Texas changed to allow for “no-fault” divorces, fault grounds are not used as often. Generally, the fault grounds if plead and proved can lead to disproportionate share of the community estate for the spouse that did not commit the wrongdoing per the fault ground.


There are currently seven different grounds for Divorce in Texas:


1. Insupportability

2. Living apart for three years or more

3. Confinement of one spouse in a mental hospital

4. Cruelty

5. Adultery

6. Felony conviction

7. Abandonment


Insupportability

The most common ground for Divorce in Texas is Insupportability, this ground is the true “no-fault” ground. To prove this ground one must show that the marriage is insupportable due to a discord or conflict or personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

What this means practically is that you or your spouse or both of you no longer see eye-to-eye and/or no longer want to be married.


Living Apart for Three Years of More

This ground for divorce comes up fairly often, and all that has to be proved is that the spouses have not been co-habiting for a period of three years or more. There can be some implications of property division if this ground is plead and proved. For example, if one spouse has not heard from the other for a number of years all of the property in their possession will likely be awarded to them, even if it is community property.


Confinement in a Mental Hospital

If one spouse has been confined in a mental hospital for three years or more and due to the severity of the mental illness it is unlikely that there will be improvement, or if there is a chance for improvement relapse of the disorder is likely; then someone can plead this ground.


This ground for Divorce does not give a disproportionate share to the spouse who is not confined in a Mental Hospital and is very likely that the Court will appoint an attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem to protect the other spouse’s interests in the community estate.


Cruelty

Cruelty is a fault ground in Texas. Proving this ground can be a bit tricky, absent an event or pattern of events that are egregious. Further, the statute allowing this ground for a Divorce is vague.


The statute states that to prove this ground the person pleading it must show, “…the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.” This ground is extremely fact dependent and depends on exactly what happened in the lead up to the Divorce being filed.


Adultery

This ground is exactly what it sounds like. If one spouse can prove the other was cheating on them, then this ground can be proven. This ground, if proven can lead to the Court awarding a disproportionate share of the community estate to the innocent spouse depending on the facts of the cheating and if any gifts were given to the paramour.


Felony Conviction

If one spouse, during the marriage, is convicted of a felony that leads to sentence of one-year or more and has not been pardoned, then this ground can be proved. However, if the conviction the conviction is based upon the other spouse’s testimony then this ground cannot be granted.


Further if this ground is proven, and the conviction is for domestic violence, then it is possible that the Court will award spousal maintenance as well as a disproportionate share of the community estate.


Abandonment

To prove this ground a spouse must prove two things. First, the other spouse left voluntarily. Second, that the other spouse had the intent to abandon the spouse when they left. Further, this period of abandonment must be a continuous one-year period.


If you have any questions regarding Divorces, please feel free to set up a free consultation with us at (972) 330-2171

Winborne LaFleur PC

Waxahachie Office 

216 West Franklin

Waxahachie, Texas 75165

Tel: (972) 330-2171 --Byron Winborne

Tel: (972)-330-2870 -- Joseph "Jody" LaFleur

Fax: (972) 982-7880

 

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