The No-Fault Option in Texas Divorce

No-fault divorce has been available in Texas since 1970, meaning either spouse may file for divorce and not have to prove the other was at fault in the marriage. A no-fault divorce may be granted when a marriage has become "insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation."

Almost all Texas divorces are no-fault, that is, based on insupportability. Not having to prove spousal fault means the couple does not have to bring specific evidence of each other's marital misconduct before the court, usually reducing stress, embarrassment, pain and legal fees. However, sometimes behavior that shows "discord or conflict of personalities" may also fall in the realm of fault or misconduct.

The alternative grounds for divorce in Texas are based on specific "faults": cruelty, adultery, felony conviction, abandonment, living apart for three years or confinement in a mental hospital. Living apart and hospital confinement are not really "faults," but are still considered grounds for divorce.

Of these fault-based divorce grounds, only filings based on adultery and cruelty are done with any frequency. Filing based on marital fault may be recommended in some cases because those spousal behaviors may affect decisions about property division or child custody.

If you live in Texas and divorce is a possibility in your marriage, consult with an experienced family law attorney as early as possible to learn about your alternatives.