Texas "Fault & No-Fault" Divorce

Texas "Fault & No-Fault" Divorce

In a divorce, most individuals will choose to label a divorce depending on if it is neutral or not. Grounds can be split into fault and no-fault between parties. In some cases, listing both can greatly help a divorce case.

The Difference Between Fault & No Fault

A no-fault divorce can be granted when the marriage cannot work due to general conflict, both parties have lived apart for three or more years, or one spouse has been in a mental institution for three or more years.

A fault divorce means that one party has to prove that the marriage did not work due to the actions of the other party. Fault can be used to allow one party to come out of the divorce with a larger share of the marital property and can effect the child custody agreement.

Grounds of "Fault & No Fault"

In Texas, many couples are opting to put down both fault and no fault on the divorce petition. That way, if a grounds for a fault divorce cannot be proven, the divorce can still proceed in the courts.

For most alleged "fault", a spouse must be able to prove this claim to the court before a divorce is granted.

These include the following examples:

  • Adultery must be proven with clear evidence. If there is reasonable doubt that adultery did not occur, the court may not be able to grant a fault divorce. Adultery can be alleged even when a couple is separated, since relationships entered into at these times are done when a couple is not yet divorced.
  • Cruel treatment can only be alleged if it can be proven that the actions of one created an environment that essentially destroyed the marriage. Cruel treatment goes beyond just disagreements, meaning that the courts will have to examine each case carefully.
  • Abandonment can be used in a divorce only if it can be proven that the spouse that left did so of their own accord and with the intent of abandoning the marriage.

Regardless of the accusations, it is in the court's decision whether or not to grant a fault divorce. By listing both fault and no-fault on the divorce petition, it creates security for the divorce to be granted, regardless of the fault found.