No fault divorce has been in place since the 1970s and is currently recognized in all fifty states. This type of filing allows couples to obtain a divorce without having to prove that adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or other legally defined causes happened during the marriage. But a new effort by the Texas Republican Party is underway to end no fault divorce in the state of Texas. This would potentially be a major shift in the way divorce is handled in this state—shifting from an arrangement where couples can file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences, to an arrangement requiring a “fault” to be found before a divorce would be granted.
The opposition to reinstating fault based divorce stems from a concern regarding how the changing of the law would impact alimony and child support payments. Opponents are also worried that with the added difficulty of having to establish fault in each divorce suit, parties and certain lawyers may be incentivized to falsify evidence and create untruthful accounts of the relationship, which would lead to a longer and more costly divorce process.
The Republican Party believes that the disadvantages of no fault divorces pale in comparison to the advantages that would come from requiring fault in court. They are hopeful that this change would allow couples to look back on their relationship and learn from their mistakes, leading to better communication, more understanding and less co-parental struggles.
From a Texas divorce attorney perspective It CAN be difficult, but by no means impossible-to prove fault grounds- provided of course, the grounds are supported by facts. I take exception that some opponents to the bill cite that it can be presumed that divorce lawyers will allow false evidence into the Courts. Certainly there are some in this profession who may be dishonest, but most of the Texas bar is composed of honorable individuals who take their role as officers of the Court very seriously and would not allow falsehoods to be presented as truth- even to obtain a divorce. On the otherhand, there is no doubt that the bill would lead to more intensively fact based cases which certainly would create more lengthy and expensive legal battles in court. But the Republican Party may see this as a positive outcome because the increased litigation cost could create a further disincentive for couples to get a divorce.
Although this proposal would potentially change the way divorces are handled in the state going forward, it’s important to note that no fault divorces still remain legal in Texas, but this proposed change would make them more difficult to obtain.
Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 20 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 25 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.
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