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Texas lawmaker proposes end to no-fault divorce

The lull is nearly over. Statistics show that many couples put off difficult family decisions until after the holidays. With just a few days left in 2016, it is expected that once again a large number of people struggling with unhappy marriages will head to the Harris County courthouse to file for divorce.

One Texas lawmaker is trying to make the divorce process a little more difficult. He said that by doing so, he hopes to make families and marriages stronger.

Rep. Matt Krause proposes to end no-fault divorce in our state. He said he believes no-fault divorce allows couples to bail out of struggling marriages too easily, before they have really tried to fix problems and resolve differences.

"I don't know if we don't take our vows as seriously as we used to," Krause said, adding that he hopes the elimination of no-fault divorce would cause people to deliberate more carefully before getting married and to work harder to get through tough times together.

Krause will propose in the new year to remove "insupportability" as grounds for divorce in Texas. If his proposal is made into law, couples would have to live separately for three years before they could file for divorce. If you didn't want to wait that long, you (or your spouse) would have to accuse the other of adultery or abandonment.

Two rarely used grounds for divorce would be recognized as well: when a spouse is convicted of a felony or is confined to a mental institution.

Some critics of Krause's proposal say it would force couples to fight more in the process of divorce. It might also pressure people to make untrue accusations against their spouses in family courts.

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle points out that even without Krause's proposal, divorce rates are falling in Texas. The most recent data available indicates that Texans are down to a divorce rate of 2.6 per 1,000 people. The national rate is 3.2.

Krause made a similar proposal in 2015; an effort that never reached the legislature's floor for a vote.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

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