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What grounds for divorce does Texas allow?

Navigating the end of a marriage is always an emotionally complicated journey, but a high asset divorce can be legally complicated as well. There are seemingly countless divorce legal issues with which to contend, such as alimony, property division, child custody and child support. Still, before any of those issues are resolved, some initial steps must be taken.

One of the very first steps is the actual divorce filing itself. There are several different grounds for divorce acknowledged by the state of Texas. Which grounds are chosen can have effects upon other divorce-related issues such as child custody or asset division.

What is probably the most familiar grounds for divorce in Texas is insupportability. This does not mean one spouse has failed to support the family; rather, it means the marital relationship itself is no longer supportable and there exists no reasonable chance that the two parties will reconcile. This ground is granted without assigning fault to either party.

Spouses in Texas may also be granted a divorce based on living apart for at least three years -- without cohabitating with one another -- or abandonment if one spouse left the other with the intent to abandon and has remained gone for at least one year. A spouse may also be granted a divorce based on grounds of adultery. In addition, in a case where one spouse exhibits cruel mistreatment toward the other, the complaining spouse may be granted a divorce based on grounds of cruelty. It should be noted that the cruelty itself must make continued living together impossible.

A divorce can also be obtained based on grounds of confinement in a mental hospital. When the filing is done, the spouse in question must have been confined for at least three years and hope for mental recovery is not likely. Finally, a spouse may be granted a divorce due to grounds of one spouse having been convicted of a felony and having been in prison for at least a year.

Selecting the proper grounds for divorce may not be as simple as it appears, as in some cases multiple categories may apply. It is important for spouses to seek the advice they need to choose the proper grounds and understand the potential effects of each option.

Source: Texas Family Code, "Grounds for divorce and defenses," accessed Dec. 4, 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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