Under Texas’s no-fault divorce laws, a married couple who have reached the end of their ropes can get divorced on the grounds of “insupportability.” Since the 1970s, when no-fault laws started appearing across the United States, including Texas, it gave married couples a more easy option to get divorced, and by claiming “insupportability,” the couple can get divorced without alleging any fault for the dissolution of the marriage.
Recently, however, Texas State Representative Matt Krause introduced a bill that proposes the elimination of no-fault divorces in Texas. The bills seeking to strike the no-fault clause are HB 65 and SB 93, which extend the waiting period for getting a divorce while striking out the no-fault “insupportability” option. As this bill continues to gain traction and move through the Texas courts, it’s essential to speak with Fort Worth divorce attorney Wendy L. Hart to see how this bill could mean for you.
No-Fault vs. Fault-Based Divorces in Fort Worth
No-fault divorce is like the “wild card” option when the other grounds for divorce don’t apply. In short, Texas’s no-fault divorce laws allow married couples to get divorced by mutual agreement, without having to place blame or name a specific “reason” other than “irreconcilable differences” or even “incompatibility.”
There are seven statutory grounds for divorce in Texas; six of these grounds require a finding of fault on the part of one of the spouses. These statutory grounds include:
- No Fault and Insupportability — Discord or conflict of personalities has led to the legitimate end of the marriage relationship, and there is no foreseeable or reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
- Cruelty — The grounds of cruelty can be granted if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the other spouse. The nature of the cruelty makes living together insupportable, and the cruel treatment can be emotional, mental, or physical.
- Adultery — When one of the spouses has committed adultery or had an affair, the other spouse can file for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Texas defines adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse with a person besides your husband or wife.
- Conviction of a Felony — When one spouse has committed a felony and sent to prison for at least a year, the other spouse can claim divorce on this ground.
- Abandonment — In Texas, abandonment requires that one spouse has “left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment,” and remained away for at least one year.
- Living Apart — The courts may grant a fault-based divorce if the spouses have been living apart without cohabitation for at least 3 years.
- Confinement in a Mental Hospital — Courts may grant a fault-based divorce if one spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for at least 3 years and it appears that his/her mental disorder is to such a degree that adjustment is unlikely or relapse is probable.
Possible Effects of Removing the Texas No-Fault Divorce Law
The reasons for removing the no-fault clause from Texas divorces laws have good intentions behind them; Texas Representative Mr. Krause has said that he wants to strengthen families and family values, including marriage vows. Despite the good intentions, however, there will be unintended consequences for married couples who will never reconcile.
For instance, by striking out the no-fault option, divorcing couples who want to divorce peacefully will have to live separately for 3 years before filing for divorce. Divorce may also become more time consuming and costly as well, both of which could fuel the fire of an already stressful and difficult situation.
Furthermore, some studies have shown even more dire consequences of striking out the no-fault possibility. A University of Pennsylvania study from 2010 showed that when New York was considering its own no-fault law, things like domestic violence dropped by 30 percent and the suicide rate among married women dropped as much as 16 percent.
How a Fort Worth Divorce Attorney Wendy L. Hart Can Help
Striking out the no-fault option for divorcing couples can have unintended, adverse consequences for married couples who have nothing left for each other except frustration and a lack of love and companionship. A far healthier option for divorcing couples would be to avoid contentiously litigated divorce proceedings by taking advantage of mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution measures, such as Collaborative Divorce.
With the help of Fort Worth divorce attorney Wendy L. Hart, our goal is to reduce conflict as much as possible in your divorce by providing compassionate, professional, and rigorous representation. We will always put your interests at the forefront of our legal strategies, and we will aim to help you through the Texas divorce process in a proactive, comprehensive, and minimal-stress manner.
If you are getting divorced in the Fort Worth area, call Mansfield-Fort Worth divorce attorney Wendy Hart today!