Divorce can be a stressful, emotional experience. Traditionally, grounds for seeking a divorce were limited to proving that the other party had committed an illegal act, such as adultery, a crime or other harm against the victim spouse, or otherwise was ‘at fault.’ State law established clear rules regarding what acts gave one spouse the right to file for divorce, based on these acts of the other spouse.
No-fault divorce under Texas law has no such ‘clear rules’ or objective categories of wrongful acts by one spouse that gives the other spouse the right to file for and obtain a divorce. Either spouse can seek a no-fault divorce based on the broad statutory language of Section 6.601 et seq of the Texas Family Code (see below). Consequently, both parties should seek legal representation of a divorce lawyer who is experienced in representing parties in no-fault divorce matters.
The key difference in a no-fault divorce compared to traditional fault-based divorce is that no-fault divorce views marriage as an equal partnership. It allows a family law judge to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either spouse. The party filing for the divorce is not required to show any evidence that his or her spouse committed a breach of the marital contract, broke any laws, or caused him or her any harm.
The expanded, broad grounds for no-fault divorce in Texas can make the need for legal representation all the more important for each party to assert and protect their legal rights. Burleson divorce attorneys have the experience and knowledge of divorce law necessary for either party to argue for those rights and protect your interests.
For the spouse served with newly filed divorce papers, your first step in protecting your rights and interests is obtaining an attorney’s advice on whether or not to contest the no-fault divorce. Family law attorneys are available to provide you with that advice.
No-Fault Divorce Residency Requirement
Residency is the only objective legal requirement to file for a no-fault divorce in Texas. You must reside in Texas for at least six months before you can file for divorce and be a resident of the county in which you file the divorce for at least 90 days.
Under the Texas Family Code, a no-fault divorce will be granted “in circumstances when the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate end of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
This broad language gives considerable discretion to family court judges to determine whether to grant the divorce. If uncontested, there is little argument. Yet this is just the first step.
Legal Advice and the Divorce Agreement
The important issues arise in the divorce agreement, which is a contract between two parties that includes future rights and responsibilities. Important and potentially controversial matters of child support, child visitation, spousal support, and division of marital assets all must be negotiated between the two parties and incorporated in the written divorce agreement.
No-fault divorce has not replaced fault-based divorce. It expands the law and legal options available to terminate your marriage through divorce.
Important Issues Involving Children, Support, and Marital Assets
Texas no-fault divorces, even if uncontested, often include important accompanying issues that require the advice of experienced divorce lawyers such as Burleson divorce attorneys at Lovelace Law: child custody, child support, spousal support and division of marital assets. These matters will be covered in subsequent blogs, as they arise in all divorces, fault or no-fault, contested or non-contested. Our experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorneys will work closely with you from the start, whether you are filing for a no-fault divorce, or the spouse ‘receiving’ such divorce filing notice.
If you have any additional questions regarding a divorce or potential divorce, call our office at 817-953-9656 to make an appointment with Cade Lovelace or Jennifer Lovelace for a free consultation.