Couple at crossroads

What is the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce?

If you and your spouse have reached the end of your marriage, there are a few options when it comes to filing for divorce. Individuals in Texas can choose between a no-fault or fault-based divorce, and it can impact future proceedings.

Our Fort Worth family law attorneys will explain the difference between the two options and important details you need to know for your divorce in this blog.

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

All states allow for no-fault divorce, which means the party filing does not need to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. It’s enough to declare that the couple cannot get along or “irreconcilable differences.” The two spouses agree that they do not want to be married anymore and jointly agree to file a no-fault divorce, formally stating that neither party is to blame or guilty of any misconduct that caused the marriage to end. These are typically the most common type of divorce in Texas.

There are also uncontested divorces, which falls under the category of no-fault divorce. This route is the best option for couples who agree with one another on their divorce terms and avoid litigation.

In cases where the couple does not agree on the separation, it may be necessary to seek a fault-based divorce. The person filing will allege that their spouse has specifically done something to make the marriage no longer work. These are most often seen when there have been instances of domestic abuse or cheating. Below, we will go into more detail about the grounds for fault-based divorces.

Grounds for Divorce in Texas

Before asking the court for a fault-based divorce, it’s essential to understand that you must have sufficient proof that your marital situation warrants a divorce based on the reasons (grounds) you are alleging. In other words, if you can’t prove it, you can’t file for divorce using that reason.

  • Adultery

  • Cruelty

  • Felony conviction and a spouse is imprisoned for at least one year

  • Abandonment by one spouse for a minimum of one year

  • Separation and living apart for at least three years

  • Confinement to a mental hospital

When you file for divorce using fault, you’re telling the court that your spouse’s actions and misconduct led to the end of your marriage. Your spouse can contest the divorce based on your grounds if they disagree, so it’s crucial that you can prove it by providing testimony and evidence.

Fault Divorce Defenses

Unlike no-fault divorces, a spouse can object to a fault divorce by convincing the court that they are not at fault. Examples of common defenses include:

  • Condonation is the approval of another's activities. For example, a wife who does not object to her husband's adultery may be said to condone it.

  • Connivance is the setting up of a situation so that the other person commits a wrongdoing. For example, a wife who invites her husband’s lover to the house and then leaves for the weekend may be said to have connived adultery.

  • Provocation is the inciting of another to do a particular act. If a spouse suing for divorce claims that the other spouse abandoned her, her spouse might defend the suit on the ground that she provoked the abandonment.

  • Collusion refers to an agreement between both spouses to fabricate the grounds for divorce, misleading the judge. If one spouse decides they no longer want a divorce (before the divorce is granted), they could raise collusion as a defense.

While a spouse can prevent a court from granting a divorce, these defenses are rarely used because they can be costly, timely, and often require the use of witnesses. Additionally, courts do not have an interest in forcing people to stay married.

Making Your Divorce Less Stressful

Divorces can involve complicated matters, especially when it is a fault-based divorce. Our attorneys at Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress are available to guide you to the next phase of your life with top-notch legal services tailored to your needs. Whether you have an uncontested divorce or require litigation, we are prepared to go the distance to make sure your interests are protected.

Our family law attorneys are here to make your divorce less stressful. Contact us at (817) 497-8148 to schedule a consultation today.

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