Bruce C. Zivley, Attorney at Law

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Basic facts regarding grounds for divorce in Texas

The understanding of the institution of marriage in Texas has changed over time. Gone are the days when one spouse could doggedly hold onto the marriage by steadfastly refusing to grant his or her consent to a divorce. Since 1997, Texas has been what is known as a "no-fault" state. This essentially means that either party can petition the court for a dissolution of marriage on several grounds. The overall concept of no-fault divorce is that the state of Texas does not want to be in the position of forcing couples to remain married against their will. The following is a short list of suitable grounds for divorce:

-- Insupportability: when both spouses can no longer support a marriage due to their constant discord or conflict, and reconciliation seems unlikely.

-- Cruelty: when one spouse's treatment of the other is so cruel as to make living together untenable.

-- Adultery: when a spouse engages in an extramarital affair.

-- Conviction of a felony: Generally, the court will allow a spouse to divorce if the other spouse has been convicted of a felony, incarcerated for at least one year and has not yet received a pardon.

-- Abandonment: The court may allow a complaining spouse to divorce if the other spouse been away for at least a year and shows no indication of returning.

-- Living apart: Divorce may be granted if both spouses have been separated for at least three years.

-- Confinement in a mental hospital: Divorce may be granted if one spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for at least three years and exhibits signs that their mental condition as of such a nature that the spouse will not be able to recover or will likely relapse after release.

Divorce is a permanent, life-altering event. Therefore, if you are seeking a dissolution of your marriage, it would be prudent to first gain the advice of your legal counsel before putting your pen to paper and imperiling your future rights and responsibilities.

Source: Statutes of the Texas State Legislature, "Family Code: Title 1 , Subtitle Dissolution of Marriage, Chapter 6, Suit for the dissolution of marriage" Aug. 05, 2014

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