Deciding to end your marriage is almost always a stressful and emotionally exhausting process. However, the outcome of a divorce can vary significantly depending on your reason for filing. There are several grounds for divorce in Texas, not all of which require holding one spouse at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. We recommend understanding the legal grounds for dissolving a marriage before submitting your online divorce forms to your local court.

Seeking a Divorce in Texas on Fault-Based Grounds

There are many grounds upon which someone can seek a fault-based divorce in our area. Perhaps the most straightforward of these is adultery, which is defined as a married person having voluntary sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse. Adultery can be proven through circumstantial evidence like credit card bills and cell phone records, but fault cannot be proven on suggestion or implication alone.

Fault-based grounds for divorce also include:

  • Willful and persistent cruelty by one spouse toward the other
  • Conviction of and subsequent imprisonment for a felony offense
  • Abandonment for a period of one year or longer
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Religious or cultural differences

Potential Defenses to Fault-Based Divorce Grounds

Texas state law provides an affirmative defense for when a spouse seeks a fault-based divorce against their partner. Specifically, if the filing spouse condoned their partner’s behavior, and a judge believes there is a reasonable expectation that the couple can reconcile their issues over time, it may be possible to invalidate a fault-based divorce filing on grounds of condonation.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Our Area

No-fault divorces have become far more common than fault-based divorces over the last few decades. One of the most frequently cited and cost-effective no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas is insupportability, which is a declaration by one or both spouses that their marriage is no longer tenable due to some internal conflict, without assigning either party specific fault for that conflict.

It is also possible to seek divorce in Texas on the grounds of a physical separation lasting for at least three years, during which neither spouse cohabitated with the other at any point. Finally, if someone is confined in a mental institution for at least three consecutive years, their spouse may initiate the divorce process if they have good reason to believe their partner will never recover from their condition or is very likely to relapse once released.

Understand Grounds for Divorce in Texas before Filing

Previously, it was necessary to declare that one party to a marriage was specifically to blame for its dissolution. While Texas residents still have a right to pursue fault-based divorces if they have appropriate grounds to do so, they may also cite no-fault grounds for an expedited and cost-effective divorce if they so choose.

Understanding the different grounds for divorce in Texas is a key first step to quickly and effectively navigating the process of dissolving a marriage on your own. If you are ready to end your marriage and want to avoid attorneys’ fees, DIY divorce may be an affordable and efficient solution.