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How spouses find 'fault' with their ex in Texas

When two people get divorced in Texas, both spouses generally have their own idea regarding whose fault the breakup was. In some cases, though, spouses can agree on where the fault lies in a divorce, whether it is with one spouse, both spouses or no one at all. Other times, fault in a divorce is contested, with each party claiming the other was at fault. What many don't realize is that fault may be related later on to property division and each spouse's propensity for protecting assets.

The divorce process often begins by one spouse officially filing for divorce. In general, at least one ground for divorce must be named; this is often "insupportability of the marriage." A marriage is generally no longer supportable when there is excessive discord between partners, unsustainable incompatibility and no realistic hope that reconciliation will take place. This ground can also be claimed if spouses have been living separately for three or more years.

At other times, there may be more specific and fault-based reasons for a divorce. One of the most readily recognizable is adultery, but other grounds include abandonment, cruelty and a felony conviction. If a spouse does officially cite one of these as grounds for divorce, he or she must take an extra step of demonstrating that their claim is based in fact. Simply alleging that a spouse cheated or that a spouse was cruel and abusive over a period of time is not enough for the court; it requires evidence, either direct or circumstantial.

If a spouse only claims a fault-based ground for divorce, and the court disagrees with the filing spouse, the divorce itself may not be granted. However, if the divorce is granted in such a situation, the spouse who is not at fault may be at an advantage when it comes to dividing marital property. If a spouse abandoned the family home, for instance, the other spouse may be more likely to remain with the home after divorce. Still, the outcome of complex property division scenarios depends on much more than fault in an equitable division state such as Texas. Nevertheless, it is beneficial for spouses to understand what the filing spouse has listed as grounds for divorce and how that will impact the rest of the divorce process.

Source: Texas Laywer, "A new trend in divorce petitions: Alleging fault and no-fault," Holly Friedman Biederman and Jennifer L. Dauzat, Aug. 25, 2014

Source: Texas Laywer, "A new trend in divorce petitions: Alleging fault and no-fault," Holly Friedman Biederman and Jennifer L. Dauzat, Aug. 25, 2014

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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