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Bill calls for the end of no-fault divorce in Texas

Once a spouse arrives at the difficult decision to pursue a divorce, he or she will understandably want to move forward as quickly as possible, putting the matter behind them and starting a new chapter in their lives.

To that end, they will more than likely have an interest in pursuing what is known as a no-fault divorce. This means they won't have to prove any grounds for the divorce and cite only "insupportability," which is defined under Texas law as "discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation."

Interestingly enough, Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) has filed legislation, Senate Bill 93 that, if passed, would remove insupportability as a ground for divorce or, in other words, eliminate the ability to secure a no-fault divorce here in the Lone Star State.

This would mean that the only way to secure a divorce would be to cite -- and prove -- any one of the following six grounds in a court of law:

  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Felony conviction (imprisonment for at least one year)
  • Abandonment (left the spouse with intent of abandoning for at least one year)
  • Confinement in a mental hospital (for at least three years, and adjustment is not possible or relapse likely to occur)
  • Living apart (lived separately absent cohabitation for at least three years)

As for his motivation for the bill, Krause indicated that it has everything to do with protecting marriage and families.

"I think this just reinforces the sanctity of marriage," he said. "I think when we went to no-fault divorce in the 1970s, it in some ways cheapened the institution of marriage."

Krause also introduced another divorce related measure, House Bill 93, which, if passed, would extend the waiting period for a divorce from 60 days to 180 days if a couple has children under the age of 18.

Legal experts have been quick to question the logic of both measures, arguing that the elimination of no-fault would not only serve to erode a couple's privacy, drive up divorce costs and create more of a backlog in the state court system, but also make it that much harder on children by prolonging the process and exposing them to potentially nasty legal battles.

It remains to be seen whether these bills gain the necessary legislative traction. It's worth noting, however, that a similar push for ending no-fault during the last session failed to advance.

What are your thoughts?

If you would like to learn more about the divorce process or have questions about a specific divorce-related issue, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options.

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