Most divorces in Texas are considered no-fault divorces, where both parties agree to divorce on grounds of being unable to sustain the marriage. There are certainly times when a divorce attorney may advise a client that there are grounds for an at-fault divorce and suggest that this type of divorce be filed. Knowing the difference between these two types of divorces before filing either a no-fault or fault-based divorce is important in Texas. When grounds for an “at-fault” divorce are applicable, a person considering such action should seek the advice of a divorce lawyer to help decide if this type of divorce action should be considered.
What Is No Fault Divorce?
In Texas, a no-fault divorce applies when one or both spouses can no longer support or agree to the marriage. In this type of divorce, both spouses agree that they cannot stay married and have agreed to file for a no-fault divorce, which is an easier type of divorce to handle than a fault-based divorce. While there are benefits to an at-fault divorce, spouses who want to avoid the headaches, embarrassment, or loss of credibility often encountered in a fault-based divorce may agree to a no-fault divorce. It then falls upon each party’s divorce attorney and the court system to divide community property and develop custody and support agreements, if necessary. In the end, neither party is actually blamed for the dissolution of the marriage.
No-Fault Vs. Uncontested Divorce
In Texas, there is also uncontested divorce, where the parties agree on the decision to divorce and have devised an amicable plan to divide their assets, handle child custody, and agree on child support payments, as applicable. An uncontested divorce can be initially agreed upon by the parties, then given to a divorce lawyer to complete the formalities and have a divorce order approved by the courts. This is the simplest and usually the least stressful form of divorce. On the other hand, there are times when an uncontested divorce must be settled in court if the situation becomes highly emotional and volatile after initial filing.
What is Fault-Based Divorce?
Unfortunately, not every divorce is a simple no-fault one, particularly when spouses do not agree on a divorce. In this situation, the party seeking a divorce can have their divorce attorney file based on fault, naming the reasons why the marriage is not sustainable. These reasons may include adultery, abuse, cruelty, mental incapacity, felony conviction, three years or more of living apart, and abandonment.
In a divorce where a party is claiming abandonment, evidence must be presented to the courts to demonstrate that they have been abandoned by the other spouse. This requires evidence that a spouse left without warning and has been gone for at least a year, or that the absent spouse intended to abandon the filing spouse.
There are a few things to consider when filing a fault-based divorce. According to a lawyer who handles a divorce for their client, proving fault can affect the outcome of the divorce in terms of property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support – depending on the reason. While no-fault and uncontested divorce usually have a waiting period before a final divorce is granted, a fault-based divorce does not have this waiting period.
With three different types of divorce in Texas, it is important that any spouse seeking a divorce understand the various circumstances that could apply to their own situation. An attorney is experienced in all types of divorce and can advise a client as to which type of divorce is best for their circumstances. Anyone seeking a divorce, whether no-fault or fault-based, should talk to experienced an divorce lawyer about which type of filing is best for their particular situation.
Reynaldo G. Garza, III
680 E. St Charles, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
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