Jane-Ashley McMillan, Attorney at Law

Your divorce options in Texas: Fault and no-fault filings

You make the decision to divorce your spouse after years of marriage. Whether you and your spouse simply cannot get along or your spouse caused your marriage’s demise in some way, you want to file to separate.

In Texas, you may file either a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. Either designation will terminate your marriage, but a fault divorce may bring longer proceedings and a more favorable outcome of assets and custody, while no-fault divorces resolve most quickly. Whether you wish to file either divorce type, you want to hire an experienced family law attorney committed to your rights. Divorces prove to involve serious emotions, and terminating a marriage may bring confusion, so you want to employ the expertise of a knowledgeable individual to fight for your rights during your divorce.

Fault divorces place blame

Fault-based divorces force the filing spouse to identify a specific decision or action that your spouse committed that lead to your separation. There are multiple grounds for divorce in Texas including:

  1. Cruelty
  2. Adultery
  3. Felony conviction
  4. Abandonment
  5. Living apart
  6. Mental hospital confinement

If your spouse inflicted cruel acts against you, did not remain faithful or obtained a felony conviction landing him other in prison, the court may grant your fault divorce. In addition, if your spouse abandoned you for at least one year, you have lived separately for three years or he or she lacks a stable mental state, a court may determine your marriage may not last.

Because fault divorces allow one spouse to use another’s mistakes in the proceedings, some filing spouses receive a higher amount of assets and/or increased custody after division. Especially if your spouse is confined to a mental hospital or is in prison, you may be entitled to more assets and sole custody.

No-fault divorces settle more quickly

The most common type of divorce existing in the United States is called a no-fault divorce. During no-fault divorce proceedings, the filing spouse does not indicate a transgression or fault of their spouse that lead to the end of marriage. The spouses will simply determine that they suffer from “irreconcilable differences” and can no longer stay married.

No-fault divorces prove much easier to complete than fault divorces as they do not need to present evidence and place blame on an individual spouse.

If you believe your spouse made a decision that broke your marriage, and you wish to file a fault-based divorce, you want to utilize the expertise of an attorney. Perhaps you and your spouse agree that divorce proves best for your situation, but you do not want to place blame on your husband or wife, you still may wish to speak with an attorney. Divorces involve important marital assets, and without the proper representation, you may leave the relationship without your deserved division.

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