Grounds for Filing

Grounds for Filing (Texas Family Code – Chapters: 6.001-6.007)

decreeA Petition for Divorce must state the grounds or reason the divorce is sought. Generally, most petitions plead for dissolution based on irreconcilable differences but there are other reasons for divorce that may be used.

NO FAULT − It has been said that it takes two to be married and only one to quit because marriage is more work than one person can do alone. In Texas Family Code parlance, there is discord and conflict that disrupts the legitimate purposes of the marriage. In other words, there is a problem and at least one party to the marriage is not willing to work on that problem (which prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation). Keep in mind, this is the most common ground for divorce in Texas because the only proof required is for at least one spouse to say he or she does not want to be married any longer. Irrecocilable differences differs from the remaining grounds in that if you want a divorce for a cause, the party seeking the divorce for cause must plead and prove facts sufficient to establish the cause occurred or exists. Divorce for cause grounds include abandonment, adultery, conviction of a felony, living apart, mental/physical cruelty, and mental illness.

ABANDONMENT − The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse: (1) left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment; and (2) remained away for at least one year.

ADULTERY – Adultery is often the cause of divorce and a Court may grant a divorce based on adultery of one spouse. Keep in mind however, it is not a simple matter to prove. Often there is circumstantial evidence, strong beliefs, and quite often “that feeling” that it has occurred. However, as a cause for divorce, the party seeking to establish adultery must plead and prove the fact. Just “knowing” it has occurred is not enough − you have to establish the other spouse has committed adultery.

CONVICTION OF FELONY − In Texas a divorce may be granted in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse: (1) has been convicted of a felony; (2) has been imprisoned for at least one year in the State Penitentiary, a Federal Penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state; and (3) has not been pardoned. (b) The court may not grant a divorce under this section against a spouse who was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.

LIVING APART− Courts may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.

MENTAL/PHYSICAL CRUELTY − The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse. The cruel treatment must be of such a nature that it renders further living together insupportable – which is in and of itself an irreconcilable difference. The distinction being in this case that the blame is laid upon only one spouse.

MENTAL ILLNESS − Texas Courts may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if at the time the suit is filed: (1) The other spouse has been confined in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital, as defined in Section 571.003, Health and Safety Code, in this state or another state for at least three years; and (2) it appears that the hospitalized spouse’s mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that, if adjustment occurs, a relapse is probable.