People who no longer wish to remain married will often pursue a no-fault divorce, regardless of the impetus for the relationship's end. In some instances, though, the spouse seeking a divorce will blame the responding spouse and ask the court to grant a fault divorce. While there are benefits to pursuing a fault divorce, there are risks associated with it as well, and it is critical for anyone who wishes to assign blame in an action to dissolve a marriage to understand the potential ramifications of such actions. If you would like to pursue a fault divorce or have recently received legal papers instituting a fault divorce, it is in your best interest to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. The Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group are practiced at navigating the emotional and legal complexities of fault divorces. If we represent you, we will fight to help you seek the most favorable legal result possible.Fault Based Divorce Procedure
Texas allows for both fault-based and no-fault divorces. Regardless of the manner in which people choose to proceed, they must meet certain requirements to obtain a divorce under Texas law. Specifically, either the petitioner or the spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months and in the county where the matter is filed for at least three months prior to the filing of the petition. If the parties meet the requirements for an uncontested divorce, the case can be resolved relatively quickly. If they do not meet the criteria or do not agree on the allegations in the divorce petition, however, certain issues will have to be resolved by a judge. Frequently, a petition for a fault divorce will be contested on the basis that the responding spouse did not engage in the alleged behavior, or cause the end of the marriage.Grounds for Fault Divorce in Texas
The Texas Family Law Code explicitly sets forth the grounds for seeking a fault divorce. Specifically, it states that a party may seek a divorce on the grounds of cruel treatment that is so severe it makes living together insupportable. The cruelty may be mental or physical. A party can also seek a divorce on the basis of adultery (i.e., sexual intercourse with somebody not your spouse).
Other grounds for fault divorces include abandonment, which is defined as leaving the petitioner with the intention of abandoning him or her, and staying apart for at least a year, and living apart, which means not cohabitating together for at least three years. Finally, a fault divorce may be granted if one spouse has been convicted of a felony and has been imprisoned for a minimum of one year or has been confined in a mental hospital for at least three years due to a mental disorder that makes a recovery unlikely, and in the event of recovery, makes relapse probable.
The spouse alleging fault bears the burden of proving the responding spouse is responsible for the marriage's downfall. Generally, fault can be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. In some instances, such as those involving imprisonment or confinement in a mental hospital, proving fault is relatively straightforward. In cases involving adultery or cruelty, though, it may be necessary to rely on eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, and correspondence to establish fault. Establishing fault may be important, as it can cause a judge to grant a greater share of community property to the innocent party via equitable distribution.Speak to a Lawyer in Dallas
Fault-based divorces are often complicated and contentious, and it is critical for people considering seeking one to obtain legal counsel regarding their options. The attorneys of McClure Law Group are adept at helping people fight to protect their rights in divorce cases, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively in your favor to help you pursue your desired outcome. We regularly represent people in divorce cases in Dallas, Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, Irving, Fort Worth, Garland, and Frisco. We also aid people in family law disputes in cities throughout Dallas, Rockwall, Grayson, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us through our form online or at 214.692.8200 to set up a meeting.