Divorce is not an easy process, but it’s easier than it has ever been compared with 100 or even 50 years ago. Starting in the 1970s, states, including Texas, adopted no-fault divorce. Before then, a married person who wanted a divorce had to prove that their spouse did one of the things that the law stated were grounds for divorce.
The six traditional divorce grounds
Those grounds are still on the books. They are:
- Cruelty, or mistreatment “of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.”
- A felony conviction that results in a prison sentence of at least one year without a pardon
- Abandonment, or your spouse leaving you and staying away for at least one year
- Living apart for at least three years
- Confinement in a mental hospital for at least three years and having a condition so severe that “adjustment is unlikely” or “a relapse is probable.”
These requirements were fairly restrictive. Having to separate for three years before filing for divorce can be financially burdensome. Your ex might have committed one of the other grounds against you, such as abusing you or cheating on you. But having to go to court to present evidence of such personal matters can be very difficult. And there is the chance that the court will not accept your case and refuse to grant you a divorce.
‘Insupportability,’ or no-fault divorce
Fortunately, there is a seventh ground for divorce: insupportability. This is what Texas calls no-fault divorce. You can file for divorce based simply on a claim that your relationship “has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities,” and there is no “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” In other words, you and your spouse’s relationship is not working, and you don’t think it can be saved. Most divorce filings cite insupportability.
Whatever reasons you (or your spouse) have for a divorce, choosing the grounds to file under is just the first step. You must also prepare to seek reasonable outcomes for property division, child custody, child support and more.