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The differences between fault-based and no-fault divorce in Texas

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Divorce |

The circumstances surrounding each divorce are unique. Therefore, Texas law tries to provide statutes and guidelines that can match any situation.

To that end, a marriage could end in a fault-based or a no-fault divorce. How do the two differ?

The standards for a no-fault divorce

Oftentimes, both spouses agree that the marriage is over and the blame does not lay with either individual in particular. In such cases, couples can file for a no-fault divorce. Essentially, this is a split due to irreconcilable differences.

In these instances, a couple can file jointly. They may even be able to expedite the process with an uncontested divorce. To do so, the parties should draw up a plan that addresses asset division, child custody and parenting duties. However, a family law court will still have to approve the plan to ensure neither individual is getting an unfair deal.

Also, Texas has a 60-day waiting period between the filing of the petition and the court’s granting of the divorce. However, finishing the process can take longer, with simple cases lasting a few months and more complex divorces requiring closer to a year.

When filing for a fault-based divorce makes sense

Filing for divorce on specific grounds means that one spouse accuses the other of actions that directly contributed to the failure of the union. The purpose of doing this is so the court can take those factors into when finalizing the split.

The grounds for a fault include:

  • Living apart for more than three years
  • Abandonment
  • An extramarital affair
  • Physical, mental or emotional abuse
  • Felony conviction

The spouse who files must prove the grounds, which can take time. However, the benefits are that the innocent party may have more favorable asset division, spousal support and child custody. Fault-based divorce can also serve as a protection because the court waives the 60-day waiting period in cases involving family violence.

While no-fault divorces are most common, situations exist where a fault-based divorce is preferable. Weighing all options helps a person determine which procedure is most fitting.