No Fault Divorce Laws in Texas

No Fault Divorce Laws in Texas

No Fault Divorce Laws in Texas

By Frank Vendt |

While an unpleasant experience to go through, divorce is a logical option for couples that no longer wish to stay married. No-fault divorce is an easy legal procedure for marriage dissolution in the state of Texas. Alternatively, married couples can also file for an at-fault divorce in the state.

What is No-Fault Divorce?

Historically, couples could be granted divorce only when either party was able to prove that their spouse had done something wrong as grounds for divorce. However, times have changed. You can now get divorced from your spouse without having to indulge in the blame game.

The most common type of divorce procedure in Texas, no-fault divorce is where neither party is obligated to prove any wrongdoing or ‘fault’ in order to contest their case. Fault divorces, on the other hand, are granted only when one party is able to prove that their spouse engaged in some kind of misconduct that led to the failure of their marriage. Grounds for filing at-fault divorce include abandonment, adultery, cruelty, and felony conviction.

Evolution of Divorce Laws in Texas

Like most other states, Texas originally embraced only fault-based divorce laws. However, given the evolving needs of society, over time, the state introduced the option of no-fault divorces as well.

The no-fault divorce laws emerged across the United States during the 1970s. Since then, these laws have made it easier for couples to separate by mutual agreement, without undergoing tedious lawsuits. As such, no-fault divorces have become the preferred legal option for couples looking to separate ways with minimum hassle.

The emergence of no-fault divorce across the U.S. has led to a dramatic dip in the rates of domestic violence and female suicide and a reduction in spousal homicide of women. According to a researcher, these significant drops are because potentially abusive spouses are now aware that it has become easier for their victims to divorce them.

Grounds for No-Fault Divorce Texas

In Texas, no-fault divorces are granted on grounds of insupportability, living apart, or confinement to a mental hospital. No fault divorce in Texas is granted when the marriage is insupportable given discord between the couple with no foreseeable expectation of reconciliation. In other words, the couple no longer wishes to stay married due to various differences and mutually agrees to separate. Let’s look at the three no-fault grounds in Texas:


Also referred to as irreconcilable differences, insupportability implies that the level of discord of personalities is such that it prevents any form of reconciliation between spouses. It is one of the most common grounds for no-fault divorce in Texas. People file for a divorce on grounds of insupportability when they cannot tolerate staying with their spouse under the same roof.

Confinement in a mental institution

There can be a variety of reasons why a person must be confined to a mental hospital such as a mental illness, accident, and so on. No-fault divorce in Texas can be filed when a party has been confined to a mental institution for a period of at least three years. Additionally, the severity of the mental ailment should be such that it is unlikely to get better over time, with a greater chance of relapse.

In order to protect the rights of the confined party, the judge usually assigns him/her a guardian for the purpose of representation in court. Appointing a guardian ensures that there is a fair and just division of the couple’s property.

Living apart

No-fault divorce in Texas can also be filed if the married couple has lived apart for a minimum of three years, with no cohabitation in the interim. In such cases, the court views the divorce petition as mutually agreed upon, since both partners have been living apart for so long.

Living apart also plays a critical role in deciding who should get what part of the family estate. For instance, if one party claims to have not been able to find their spouse for five years, the judge might grant the entire property to the former. The petitioner is granted the right to property in its entirety only if he/she has fulfilled certain conditions such as serving a notice to his/her spouse.

Benefits of No-fault Divorce

Filing for a divorce is never an easy decision. It is not only an emotionally tumultuous process, but also one that can quickly drain your hard-earned life savings. The complexity of a divorce proceeding is majorly influenced by how willing the couple is to work in conjunction and reach a swift conclusion.

A no-fault divorce minimizes the risk of a contentious situation and enables quick dissolution of marriage. In other words, no-fault divorce can considerably simplify the separation process. Since no-fault divorces are typically granted based on irreconcilable differences, there is lesser scope for either party to come up with fabricated evidence. As such, it leads to a more cordial negotiation, greater privacy, and a shorter duration of court proceedings as compared to fault-based divorces.

With no obligation on either party to prove ‘fault’, the divorce proceedings can be focused on more pressing matters such as child custody and division of property. No-fault divorces are easier on your pocket and also less stressful for couples that have children involved in the proceedings.

It is a more positive experience for your children and also enables you to be on more cordial terms with your ex-spouse, even after the divorce is granted. In short, it is a simpler, faster, and more economical way for couples to separate with mutual cooperation and minimum conflict.

How to File a No-Fault Divorce in Texas

If you want to end your marriage, you must provide grounds for filing a divorce. In other words, the state law of Texas requires you to provide a reason why you want to dissolve your marital union. Traditionally, you would have to prove in a court of law that your spouse was at fault. However, today, all you need to do is file for a no-fault divorce and get your marriage dissolved on grounds of insupportability.

No-fault divorce does not automatically imply that neither party carries any blame. You can choose to take the no-fault route, even when your spouse is to blame for cheating on you or abandoning you. This is because you might not want to undergo the tedious court proceedings and get a divorce with the least amount of hassle, legal expenditure, and hostility.

When filing for a no-fault divorce in Texas, you must ensure to comply with the state’s legal requirements for the same and submit the required paperwork in court. You can hire an experienced divorce lawyer to assist you with the state-specific requirements in Texas. Examples include residency requirements, service of process, waiting period, and any additional documentation such as a parenting plan, and so on. For instance, you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least 6 months and in the county of divorce filing for at least 90 days before filing a petition.

An experienced divorce attorney can help simplify your no-fault divorce proceedings and ensure the correct representation of your rights throughout. Filing for a no-fault divorce in Texas requires a bunch of documents such as the Original Petition for Divorce and the Summons Form to be presented in a court of law. Here is a complete list of documents for couples without children to submit:

  • Original Petition for Divorce
  • Answer
  • Waiver of Service
  • Final Decree of Divorce

Couples with children must submit additional documents related to visitation, custodial rights, and parental duties. A professional divorce lawyer can assist you with the necessary paperwork and file it in a court of law for you. Here are the documents you must fill out if you have children:

  • Original Petition for Divorce
  • Waiver of Service
  • Exhibit A Out-Of-State Parent Affidavit
  • Answer
  • Custody, Rights, and Duties Order
  • Final Decree of Divorce
  • Exhibit Child Support Order
  • Exhibit Possession and Access (Visitation) Order
  • Exhibit Family Information
  • Exhibit Medical Support Order
  • Employer’s Order to Withhold Earning for Child Support

You must make at least three copies of each document. One set of copies is served to your spouse; the other is filed in the court of law and the third is for your records. Once all your documents are in order, you can meet with the court clerk, who will then file your divorce petition in exchange for a fee.

Once the no-fault divorce is filed, it will be determined whether it is contested by your spouse or not. If it is an uncontested divorce, both parties will fill out the Divorce Settlement Agreement, in which the terms of the agreement are stated in detail. The court clerk will then proceed with scheduling a court hearing.

On the day of the hearing, the judge will review the terms of the agreement with both parties. If the divorce is contested, the party in disagreement is given a certain timeframe within which it must respond to the petition before further proceedings are carried out.

Contested Vs. Uncontested No-Fault Divorces

Once you file for a no-fault divorce, your spouse is notified of your intention to break the marriage on grounds of incompatibility or irreconcilable difference. In this situation, your spouse either agrees to every clause of the divorce settlement or has a disagreement on any one or several of them. Let’s look into the details of what a contested and uncontested no-fault divorce in Texas implies.

Contested no-fault divorce

A no-fault divorce is referred to as contested when either party disagrees on the terms of the divorce settlement. Your spouse might have issues with one or more of the divorce settlement clauses such as:

  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Property division
  • Child custody
  • Division of debt

If a couple has a disagreement on any such issues, they must be resolved before the marriage can be legally dissolved. In a contested divorce, the couple takes the help of the court to make decisions on issues that they themselves cannot reach a settlement on. Once you have submitted your evidence on the contested issues, the court passes a verdict based on it.

Given the conflict involved, contested divorces are undeniably more acrimonious, expensive, tedious, and long-drawn as compared to uncontested divorces. Since the court decides on the terms of the settlement, contested no-fault divorces can lead to both parties being discontent with the outcome.

Uncontested no-fault divorce

The simplest type of divorce you can file in Texas, uncontested no-fault divorce is the best option for couples that are in agreement with each other. Both parties agree on a divorce settlement and end their marriage without needing the help of a judge to take a decision on their behalf.

If you and your spouse can come to a common decision regarding the issues arising from the termination of your union, then an uncontested no-fault divorce is your best bet. You can take the help of a lawyer or a mediator to help you minimize conflict if any and make an out-of-court settlement.

Since there is no interference from the court, this type of divorce helps minimize your legal costs and leads to a faster and more favorable outcome everyone is happy with. Uncontested no-fault divorces are also a great option for minimizing the negative impact on the children involved.

Although it is easily the best option, uncontested no-fault divorce might not be suitable in certain situations. If the marriage involves some kind of misconduct such as cheating or abuse, both parties might find it impossible to negotiate a settlement safely or amicably. In such cases, the divorce petition will become contested.

Why Choose Us?

Filing for a divorce can be both distressful and mentally draining. At the Vendt Law Firm, we are a team of expert family law professionals with a mission to serve our clients and significantly take the edge off the painstaking divorce process. We incorporate our expertise to help you navigate the cumbersome paperwork associated with divorce proceedings and minimize any unnecessary back and forth.

Are you looking for an experienced divorce lawyer in Texas? Talk to us today!