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No Fault and Fault Divorces

The grounds or reasons that a spouse may petition the court to grant a divorce are limited to the grounds expressed in the Texas Family Code; however, Texas is a no-fault divorce jurisdiction, which means that either spouse can obtain a divorce regardless of fault and without the other spouse's consent or agreement.

Insupportability (“No Fault”)

Currently, the most common ground for divorce is insupportability.  Insupportability means “the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personality that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”  This is known as a “no fault divorce.”  

Fault Grounds

Cruelty

Cruelty was the most common ground for divorce prior to the availability of the no-fault divorce.  This basis for divorce requires proof of actual physical or psychological abuse.  Evidence can be in the form of police records, mental health records, diaries, and/or tape recordings.

Adultery

Adultery can be a ground for the divorce if evidence exists of an extramarital relationship, even if the affair began after the spouse separated.  Pleading adultery is relevant when child custody, spousal maintenance (i.e. alimony), and/or the distribution of property are at issue.

Felony Conviction

If a person is convicted, not pardoned, and imprisoned for at least one year, his or her spouse can sue for divorce on those grounds.  However, this ground cannot be used against an incarcerated spouse who was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.

Abandonment

The court may grant a divorce if one spouse left the other spouse with the intention of abandonment and remained away for at least 1 year.

Living Apart

Living apart as a cause for divorce is similar to the no-fault ground allows either spouse to get a divorce if they have not cohabited for at least 3 years.

Confinement in a Mental Hospital

A more extreme version of abandonment is the ground of confinement to a mental hospital. If a person has been in the mental hospital for at least three years and is unlikely to be released, his or her spouse can obtain a divorce.