Evidence in Fault Divorce Cases
Regardless of why a marriage fails, many couples choose to seek no-fault divorces, essentially representing that their marriage cannot be saved due to differences between them that they are unable to resolve. Texas allows parties the option of seeking fault-based divorces, however, and many people choose to do so for a variety of reasons. If a court grants a fault divorce, it will effectively assign one party blame for the downfall of the marriage. As such, the courts require competent evidence in fault divorce causes, to establish why such relief should be granted. If you wish to institute a divorce action or recently received a petition for dissolution from your spouse, it is smart to meet with an attorney as soon as possible to assess your options. The trusted Dallas divorce lawyers of McClure Law Group can advise you of your rights, and help you determine the best manner to proceed in pursuit of your desired outcome.Grounds for Fault-Based Divorces in Texas
The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) establishes seven grounds for divorce. The first, insupportability, is the term Texas uses for a no-fault divorce. In other words, the court will grant a divorce on the grounds of insupportability without assigning fault to either party. The remaining six grounds, cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, living apart, abandonment, and confinement in a mental hospital, are fault-based. A divorce granted on fault-based grounds will be in favor of one party, which may benefit that party in terms of division of community property and maintenance.Evidence in Fault-Based Divorce Cases
The courts consider various types of evidence in fault divorce cases, depending on the grounds asserted. Some fault-based grounds are easily established. For example, a person seeking a divorce due to conviction of a felony merely has to show their spouse was convicted of a felony, has been in prison for at least a year, and has not been pardoned. Similarly, a party seeking a divorce due to their spouse’s confinement in a mental hospital must merely offer proof of the spouse’s confinement for at least three years and that the nature and degree of the spouse’s mental disorder are such that adjustment is improbable, and if adjustment happens, a relapse is likely. The spouse’s mental-health status can generally be established via medical records and testimony from a mental-health expert.
Establishing other fault-based grounds can sometimes be less straightforward. For example, a party alleging adultery as the grounds for seeking divorce must produce evidence showing that their spouse engaged in acts of infidelity during the marriage. Parties often lack direct evidence of adultery, but it can be established via circumstantial evidence. The proof offered in support of the assertion that a party committed adultery must be clear and convincing, however, as mere innuendo or suggestion are insufficient to establish adultery. Voicemails and emails, text messages, photographs, and surveillance footage are often offered as evidence in fault divorce cases alleging adultery.
A party alleging abandonment as grounds for divorce must show that their spouse chose to leave their marital home with the expectation of remaining away from them for a minimum of one year. Finally, cruelty may be shown by demonstrating that a party has engaged in willful acts with the intent of causing their spouse pain and suffering.Speak to an Experienced Dallas Lawyer
There are benefits to obtaining a fault-based divorce, but the process of procuring them is often contentious and complicated. If you intend to end your marriage, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney regarding your rights. The experienced Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping parties seek favorable resolutions in divorce matters, and if you hire us, we will fight to help you protect your interests. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available for consultations by appointment at our Collin-County office in Plano. We frequently represent people in divorce matters in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, Rockwall, and Garland. We also aid people in family-law disputes in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us via our online form, or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a meeting.