Benefits of a Prenuptial agreement

No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce in Texas

Jad J. Stepp

Jad J. Stepp is the managing shareholder of Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., a Houston-based firm that focuses on probate and elder law matters, as well as estate planning, personal injury, aviation, and maritime litigation. For over 35 years he has been trying lawsuits in both federal and state court and has been the lead trial lawyer in complex litigation in many areas.
Jad J. Stepp

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has a higher divorce rate than the national average. Most divorces in Texas are considered no-fault divorces. A no-fault divorce indicates that neither spouse is to blame for ending the marriage, and neither can maintain the union any longer. In some instances, a divorce lawyer may advise a client that grounds for an at-fault divorce are more fitting for their specific situation and recommend this type be filed. 

It’s essential to have a thorough understanding of these types of divorces in Texas before filing a no-fault or fault-based divorce. If you believe that grounds for an at-fault divorce are relevant to your situation, it’s strongly advisable to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to decide if this is the most suitable strategy.  

What is a No-Fault Divorce in Texas?

A no-fault divorce applies when one or both spouses decides they can no longer maintain the marriage. This type of divorce is less complicated, less time-consuming, and usually less costly than an at-fault divorce. While there are certain advantages to an at-fault divorce, spouses will often opt for a no-fault divorce to avoid the added stress, embarrassment, or loss of credibility that an at-fault divorce may involve. 

The responsibility of dividing community property and developing support and custody agreements falls upon each party’s divorce lawyer and the Texas family law court system. In conclusion, neither spouse is responsible for the dissolution of the marriage. 

What’s the Difference Between a No-Fault vs. an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?

Not to be confused with a no-fault divorce, there are also uncontested divorces in Texas. An uncontested divorce means that the parties accept the resolution to divorce and have developed an agreeable plan to split their debts and assets, arrange child custody, and determine child and spousal support payments. 

An uncontested divorce is usually the least complicated form of divorce in Texas. After both parties agree to the terms of the divorce, a divorce lawyer will handle the subsequent formalities of getting the Texas family law courts to approve the divorce order. However, divorces can become volatile as emotions run high after initially filing for divorce. If that’s the case, an uncontested divorce then must be settled in court. 

What is a Fault-Based Divorce in Texas?

Divorces in Texas become more complicated when both spouses do not agree on a divorce. In this instance, the spouse who wants to file divorce can request that their divorce lawyer file based on fault, citing that the marriage is unsustainable as the reasoning. 

Grounds for at-fault divorce include:  

  • Adultery
  • Abuse
  • Cruelty
  • Mental incapacity
  • Felony conviction
  • Abandonment
  • Separation for three years or more

If a spouse claims abandonment as grounds for an at-fault divorce, he or she must prove this fact to the court. They must demonstrate that their spouse left without warning and has been gone for at least one year or that there was a clear intention of the absent spouse to abandon the spouse who is filing for divorce. 

Considerations of a Fault-Based Divorce

In the Texas family court, establishing fault can influence the final result of the divorce. Depending on the grounds in which the divorce is filed, proving fault can affect the outcome of property division, child support, child custody, and spousal support. Additionally, in contrast to no-fault and uncontested divorces that require a waiting period before the divorce is final, a fault-based divorce has no waiting period. 

Experienced Divorce Lawyers Ready to Help in Houston

It’s essential to understand the different types of divorces and the numerous conditions that could apply to your situation when seeking a divorce in Texas. While an uncontested divorce is the most simple and straightforward, that’s not possible for many spouses who wish to end a marriage. A divorce lawyer with experience in all types of Texas divorces can help you determine which type fits your circumstances.

Stepp & Sullivan, PC, is a full-service family law firm representing residents in the Houston area for more than 35 years. Together, our divorce lawyers have more than 70 years of combined experience in family law that we use in creating innovative legal strategies and custom approaches to each divorce case that we handle. For aggressive advocacy and honest counsel, speak with a Stepp & Sullivan, PC, divorce lawyer. Schedule a free consultation by completing an online contact form or call today at (713) 336-7200.

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