Fault in Texas Divorce Cases

Texas law gives a spouse the ability to use grounds of fault in Texas divorce cases, but a spouse still has the ability to allege no-fault grounds for a divorce. The Texas Family Code provides that no-fault grounds include insupportability of the marriage due to discord or conflict with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation, living apart for at least three years, or if a spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for at least three years.  As might be expected, insupportability is the common no-fault ground for divorce.

Until the early 1970s, a spouse had to prove that the other spouse was at fault in Texas divorce actions.  Fault grounds include:

1. adultery;

2. abandonment for at least one year with an intent not to return;

3. cruel treatment that renders living together insupportable (intolerable) which applies to both mental or physical cruelty; and

4. a felony conviction.

In the early 1970s Texas the Texas Family Code expanded the grounds on which a court can grant a divorce to include no-fault grounds.  The Texas legislature made this change for several reasons, including a desire to decrease the expense of divorce as well as to lessen the emotional turmoil often caused by having to put on evidence in court to prove fault, particularly with the ground of cruelty and adultery.

Even though most of Houston area divorce cases are granted with no-fault grounds, fault in Texas divorce matters is still frequently alleged.  The reason for this is that if a party can prove fault in Texas divorce cases to a family court, the judge can take that into consideration when dividing marital property.  If a party is found to be at fault for causing the breakup of the marriage, the court has the discretion to award the other spouse a disproportionate share of the community property of the marriage.

Additionally, divorce attorneys in Houston family courts will pursue a finding of fault in Texas divorce actions because the court can consider fault in setting the amount of spousal support payments and the length of time spousal support will last.  Contact The Larson Law Office today at 713.221.9088 regarding help with your Houston divorce case.

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