According to Texas law, one spouse can petition for a divorce from the other spouse based on cruelty. Before a divorce is granted on these grounds, the petitioner’s attorney must be prepared to prove that such cruelty actually happened. Only when a divorce lawyer are able to help a petitioner build a valid case proving cruelty that is severe enough to make continued living together insupportable will the court grant a divorce on such grounds.

Defining Cruelty in the Case of Divorce

According to the Texas Family Code, divorce on the grounds of cruelty may be granted when the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable. Cruel treatment can be emotional, mental, or physical cruelty. It is advisable that you communicate fully your evidence to your attorney handling the divorce.

Proving Cruelty in Texas

There are three kinds of cruelty that are considered to meet the requirements of the statute of being “insupportable:” physical abuse, mental abuse, and emotional abuse. In any of these cases, cruelty is a very serious claim to make against a spouse and is taken very seriously in Family Law courts. Before granting a petition for a divorce based on cruelty charges, an attorney representing a client in a divorce proceeding must offer sufficient evidence to substantiate any claim.

Claims of physical cruelty or abuse can be the easiest to prove if there are police reports, hospital or doctor visits that document physical injuries, and eye-witness accounts of physical abuse. Emotional and mental cruelty are more challenging for a divorce lawyer to prove. These can be carefully proven with detailed accounts and proof of excessive non-physical abuse toward a spouse, and may even apply in cases of adultery and other highly emotional reasons that make the marriage intolerable.

Why Claim Cruelty?

Besides the challenge to actually prove emotional or mental cruelty, petitioners must consider the fact that failure to prove cruelty can result in the divorce being denied if cruelty was the only grounds used in the divorce petition. It is always advisable to seek a divorce for alternate grounds such as the more common “insupportable because of discord and conflict of personalities.” An attorney who handles divorce cases in Texas often alleges cruelty as a grounds for divorce in order to obtain a larger share of the marital property to be divided and/or a smaller share of the marital debt. Additionally, a finding of cruelty against a spouse can affect child custody considerations by the Family Court judge.

To learn more about circumstances where divorce on the grounds of cruelty can apply, contact a lawyer who is experienced with handling divorce cases to discuss individual circumstances and determine if such a claim is recommended. The best course of action will always be seeking the help of a capable attorney who knows how to prove cruelty in a divorce action and is devoted to protecting your best interests in court.

Reynaldo G. Garza, III
680 E. St Charles, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
(956) 202-0067

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