Grounds for Divorce in Texas

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

According to the Texas Family Code, divorce can be fault or no-fault. In the case of no-fault divorce, spouses don’t blame each other for the breakdown of a marriage. Fault divorce can be granted when the petitioner proves that the other spouse’s actions led to the failure of a marriage. Understanding the reasons for divorce in Texas may help spouses choose the course of action that is right for them and their family based on personal circumstances.

The seven grounds for filing a divorce in Texas are:

1. Insupportability

One of the most common grounds for no-fault divorce is insupportability, which implies a discord between or incompatibility of the parties. Insupportability divorce in Texas means that the marriage has become unendurable for both spouses, and reconciliation is not feasible.

2. Cruelty 

The concept of cruelty is relative and can be perceived differently by individuals. However, if one of the spouses causes either physical or mental suffering to a partner, it can be a ground for a fault divorce in Texas. Allegations of cruelty can be based on a one-time action or a long-term cruel behavior.

3. Adultery

Another fault-based reason for divorce is adultery. It is important to understand what is considered adultery in Texas and how you can prove it. The situation when one of the spouses was caught cheating is a valid reason for filing for divorce. A petitioner has to provide testimony of the respondent’s unfaithful behavior that the court would consider valid. Just assuming that the other spouse had an affair is not sufficient. Texts, emails, photos, or credit card statements can prove the guilt of the respondent.  

It is recommended to refrain from any kind of new relationships before the divorce is finalized as it may be seen as infidelity by the court.

4. Conviction of a Felony

When filing for a divorce in Texas on the ground of conviction of a felony, the following requirements should be met:

  • Spouse who is convicted of a felony has been imprisoned for at least one year
  • They haven’t been pardoned. 

Under these circumstances, the court can grant a fault-based divorce. However, if the petitioner gave testimony in court that led to the conviction of the other spouse, divorce is unlikely to be granted.

5. Abandonment 

The fifth ground for divorce is abandonment. The petitioner should prove the other spouse has intentionally left them with no plan to return in the future. The time frame sufficient for filing abandonment in Texas is one consecutive year of not living together. An important condition is that the respondent hasn’t returned home during this year in an attempt to live together. 

6. Living Apart

Unlike abandonment, living apart is considered a no-fault ground for divorce in Texas. The court can grant a divorce if the spouses have lived separately for at least three years or more by the time of filing for divorce.

7. Confinement in Mental Hospital 

The last reason for a no-fault divorce in Texas is when the respondent suffers from a mental illness and has been confined in a mental institution for three years or more. The petitioner can file based on this ground if the respondent is very unlikely to recover or the risk of relapse is very high. When it comes to the division of property in the court, a guardian can be appointed to defend the interests of the mentally incapacitated party.