Texas and Fault-Based Divorce
While the vast majority of divorces in Texas are no-fault, some divorces are based on fault, which must be proven. Ultimately, you must have a reason to file for divorce. This reason is generally either insupportability (which translates roughly to irreconcilable differences) or living separately – but the reason can also be fault. Every divorcing couple has their own unique reasons for seeking the divorce they do, and because fault sometimes plays a role, the State of Texas recognizes fault-based divorces.
The most crucial point to keep in mind concerning fault vs. no-fault divorce is that, in order to acquire a fault-based divorce, you must be able to prove your accusation of fault. This proof can be based on testimony from witnesses with close knowledge of the wrongdoing or documentation and supporting evidence. In other words, the court will not simply take your word for it. In the end, fault-based divorces generally take longer, are more expensive, and air more dirty laundry (divorce records are public records). The fact of fault, however, can influence your divorce terms, including the division of your marital property and the matter of alimony.
While fault can come in many forms, some of the most common fault-based grounds for divorce include:
Adultery – If your spouse is having an affair, you do not need a photo of them embracing passionately for you to believe the fact of the affair, and neither does the court. However, you will need to demonstrate that your spouse is having an affair, which is generally done via circumstantial evidence, such as phone bills, bank statements (indicating the purchase of gifts, meals, or trips with the other person.) Further, a statement made by your spouse informing you of the affair may be enough. Suggestion and innuendo, however, will not cut it when it comes to proving adultery.
Cruelty – If your spouse takes it upon himself or herself to willfully cause you pain or suffering, it may rise to the level of a fault basis for divorce. Each case of alleged cruelty must be examined on its own merits. Because cruelty can be subjective, the court will look for the purposeful and persistent infliction of unnecessary physical or emotional suffering. Constant bickering, however, will likely not suffice.
Felony Criminal Conviction – If your spouse was convicted of a felony during the course of your marriage and was imprisoned for at least a year (without being pardoned), you could pursue a fault-based divorce based on this fact.
Abandonment – If your spouse voluntarily leaves you with the intention of abandoning you for at least a year (and does not temporarily return), the court may deem it abandonment and allow your divorce to proceed on this basis.
Turn to a Dedicated Killeen Divorce Attorney for the Help You Need
Divorce is a complicated legal matter – the consequences of which will likely significantly impact your financial future. For this reason, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, skillfully advocates for divorce terms that uphold each unique clients’ best interests. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.