Do I need to have a certain reason to get divorced in Texas?

With divorce as common as it is, many people have begun to believe that it is easy to get a divorce. Some people are surprised to learn that Texas courts require a spouse to prove that a legally valid reason for divorce exists before a divorce can be granted.

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, it can be advantageous to consider which legally valid reason, called a ground, applies to your situation. If no ground applies to your situation, you may not be eligible for divorce.

Fault grounds

Texas recognizes five fault grounds and two no-fault grounds. Fault-based grounds allege that your spouse’s actions caused the need for divorce. Because of the blame associated with fault grounds, use of a fault ground could cause you to receive a more favorable division of the marital estate.

Fault grounds include:

  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Conviction of a felony resulting in over a year in prison
  • Abandonment for at least a year
  • Confinement in a mental hospital for at least three years

No-fault grounds

No-fault grounds do not assign blame to either spouse for the divorce. One common no-fault ground is insupportability. This ground alleges that the marriage has become insupportable because of conflict between you and your spouse. This conflict must be so extreme that it is unlikely you and your spouse will reconcile.

Living apart is the other no-fault ground recognized in Texas. A court may grant either spouse a divorce if the spouses have lived apart for at least three years.

If you decide that ending your marriage is the best choice for your situation, it is important to consider your ground for divorce carefully because you must be able to prove whatever ground you choose. Getting a divorce may appear easy, but if you are unable to successfully prove your ground, a court may not grant you a divorce.

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