There isn’t always a single, clear reason why Texas couples divorce. In many cases, the marriage has simply broken down over time and neither spouse is solely to blame. Fortunately, Texas is one of many states that allows “no-fault” divorces.
While Texas allows no-fault divorces, these proceedings are still complicated, so hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to handle your case is crucial. The Austin divorce attorneys at Smith Family Law have helped many people through the no-fault divorce process, and we’re here to protect your rights and interests. If you have questions about no-fault divorces in Texas, keep reading.
No-Fault Divorce in Texas
Similar to many states, Texas law offers multiple grounds for couples to pursue divorce. (The legal term for these reasons is “grounds” for divorce.) Specifically, the Texas Family Code says the courts may grant a divorce if the marriage is “insupportable” because of conflicts between spouses that prevent any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. By allowing no-fault divorces, the law acknowledges that sometimes marital relationships break down without a specific cause. So, is Texas a no-fault state for divorce? Absolutely.
Grounds for Divorce in Texas
The Texas Family Code outlines seven possible grounds for divorce, and they are:
- No-fault divorce: The technical term for a no-fault divorce in Texas is “Insupportability,” meaning the marriage is unsustainable because of irreconcilable conflicts between spouses.
- Cruelty: Cruel treatment making cohabitation insupportable is valid grounds for divorce.
- Adultery: If a spouse has been unfaithful, the other spouse can file for divorce on the basis of adultery.
- Felony Conviction: If a spouse is guilty of a felony and serves at least one year in prison, the other spouse can file for divorce on these grounds.
- Abandonment: If a spouse has abandoned the other for at least a year, the abandoned spouse has grounds for divorce.
- Living Apart: Living apart without marital relations for three years is valid divorce grounds in Texas.
- Confinement in a Mental Hospital: If a spouse has spent a minimum of three years confined in a mental hospital, and if their disorder seems to make adapting to regular life improbable or a relapse likely, the other spouse can initiate divorce proceedings.
Texas Divorce Laws
Texas divorce laws can be intricate, and hiring an attorney who comprehends how subtle details can impact these cases is crucial. Here are a few key points to know about Texas divorce laws:
- Division of Marital Property: In Texas, the courts divide marital property based on a legal concept known as “community property.” This means that most assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered joint property and will be divided in a way the court deems “just and right.” Typically, this results in a roughly equal split, but the courts make their decisions based on various factors, including each spouse’s earning power, if one spouse is at fault for the divorce, and each party’s health. It’s important to note that property owned before marriage, gifts, and inheritances typically remain with the original spouse as “separate property.”
- Child Custody: In Texas, courts often prefer that both parents share decision-making responsibilities for their child. However, this doesn’t always mean equal physical custody. The court will make decisions based on what’s in the child’s best interest, taking into account factors like the child’s age, emotional needs, and the parents’ ability to co-parent.
- Spousal Support: Spousal support, also known as alimony, is not automatic in Texas divorces. Eligibility is based on marriage duration, spouse’s self-support, and instances of any family violence. The court aims to ensure that neither party will face undue hardship due to the divorce.
- Child Support: Child support in Texas is calculated using the noncustodial parent’s income and number of children. The goal is to ensure the children are adequately provided for, even when the family structure changes.
- How Long Does A Divorce Take In Texas?
- What Are The Rules For The Division Of Assets In A Divorce in Texas?
Divorce Process in Texas
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the Texas divorce process:
- Filing the Petition: Divorce begins when a spouse files a petition in their 90-day residence county. This document states the grounds for divorce and your desired outcomes for property division, child custody, and other relevant issues.
- Serving the Petition: The other spouse must be “served” with the divorce papers, which means they are formally notified of the divorce process. They then have a certain amount of time (usually about 20 days) to respond.
- Temporary Orders: If necessary, the court can issue temporary orders for child custody, support, or property use during divorce.
- Discovery: During this phase, both spouses exchange information about their financial situation, property, debts, and other relevant matters. This ensures each party has all the necessary information for negotiations and trial, if necessary.
- Negotiation: If you both agree on divorce terms, you can draft a written agreement. Creating an out-of-court agreement with your spouse can significantly simplify and speed up the process.
- Trial: If you can’t reach an agreement, your divorce will go to trial. A judge will decide unresolved divorce issues after several court hearings.
- Final Decree of Divorce: Once the court resolves all issues, it will issue a Final Decree of Divorce. This judicial contains all the terms of your divorce and officially ends your marriage.
Whether you’re interested in a no-fault divorce or have grounds for an at-fault divorce, working with an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated attorney is crucial to achieving the best possible outcome. The team at Smith Family Law is ready to protect your interests and support you through this process, ensuring that your experience with the divorce proceedings in Texas, especially considering whether Texas is a no-fault state for divorce, is as smooth and favorable as possible. Call (512) 714-2877 today or fill out our contact form for your free consultation.