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Texas bill would make it harder to divorce

Back in the 1970s, the Lone Star State introduced "no fault" divorce. Before that, spouses had to prove to the courts that the marriage was untenable, often by showing that infidelity or abuse took place. Instead of just saying things didn't work out, fault-baseddivorcesmeant airing dirty laundry and having someone else tell you whether your feelings were valid.

Now a new bill has been introduced in Texas that would end no-fault divorce in the state. The proponents of the bill argue that it would help couples and families stay together longer and thus strengthen the family unit. Detractors say that fault-based divorces are an antiquated idea that went out of style about the same time as shag carpeting.

When no-fault divorces were first announced, divorces across the country did go up. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, in 1970, there were 4.6 divorces per 1,000 people in Texas. By 1981, that number had risen to 6.9 per 1,000. However, over the last decades, those numbers have been coming down significantly. In fact, in 2014, the statistics showed 2.7 divorces for every 1,000. That's compared to the nationwide numbers, which stand at 3.2 per 1,000.

The new bill would force couples to live apart for three years before being granted a divorce. Alternatively, the spouses would have to go to battle to prove adultery, cruelty or abandonment on the part of the other spouse.

Whether the bill passes or not, one thing remains constant: having an attorney by your side during the divorce can be an invaluable help.

Source: star-telegram.com, "Until death do us part? Fort Worth lawmaker proposes plan to preserve marriage," January 13, 2017

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