Maybe you’ve been growing apart for years, and you and your spouse no longer have much in common. Perhaps you’ve recently experienced some traumatic rupture in your relationship, such as the discovery of an affair or an act of physical violence.
If you think that a divorce is in your immediate future, you need to educate yourself. Unfortunately, myths about divorce proceedings are everywhere. You may have heard from others that your spouse will have to sign off on or approve your divorce.
Is that true? Do you have to get permission to divorce in Texas?
To get a divorce, only one spouse has to approve the process
No one can force you to remain married against your will. If your marital circumstances qualify for divorce under Texas law, you have the right to file. If your spouse agrees with you on all the terms, you can file an uncontested divorce. If you don’t agree, you will use a contested filing.
Even if your spouse wants to stay married, the courts will grant your divorce, provided you file the proper paperwork and complete all necessary steps. Determining your grounds for divorce is a crucial early step because sometimes, your spouse could try to defend against the divorce filing.
What are the grounds for divorce in Texas?
Currently, under Texas state law, there are seven acceptable grounds for divorce filings. These grounds are:
- Insupportability (often called irreconcilable differences in other states)
- Living separately for three or more years
- One spouse’s confinement to a mental hospital lasting three or more years
- The felony conviction of one spouse after marriage with an incarceration sentence of a year or more
As you can probably tell, the latter inclusions on this list are fault-based issues. People who qualify for a fault-based filing have a decision to make.
Should you try to prove fault?
If you go to the courts and allege that your spouse has cheated on, abused or abandoned you, your spouse can potentially defend against those claims and prevent a divorce on those grounds. For that reason, even if there is a cause for your divorce, you may want to consider filing for what will effectively be a no-fault divorce under claims of insupportability.
Divorce based on grounds or fault can lead to different outcomes in custody rulings or property division. For example, proving abuse can help you protect your children if you worry about sharing custody with your ex. Talking with a lawyer can often be a helpful way to decide what grounds for filing will work best for you.