|GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN
Although 99% of the divorces in Texas are granted on the basis of incompatibility (you just don't get along anymore), there are other reasons, or grounds, for which a divorce may be granted. Usually people using these grounds are seeking some advantage in a contested divorce, such as increasing their share of the property division or obtaining custody of a child. Here are the grounds for divorce in the state of Texas as listed in the Texas family code:
This is the no fault grounds for divorce. It says that your marriage has become, "insupportable," because of discord or conflict of personality and that there's no chance that things are going to get better. This is used most commonly because you don't have to prove anything to get the divorce and your spouse can't stop you. All of the remaining grounds for divorce require that you prove what you say in court. If you can't prove it to the judges' satisfaction, then you don't get the divorce.
This ground alleges that your spouse is guilty of such cruel treatment that you can't possibly go on living with him or her. This covers the gamut from mental cruelty to physical abuse.
This, of course, alleges that your spouse has been cheating on you. Most people using this ground have gotten hold of love letters or have had a detective following their spouse around from one motel room to another.
CONVICTION OF FELONY
You can petition for a divorce in Texas if your spouse has: (1) been convicted of a felony; (2) has been in a state or federal jail for over a year; and, (3) has not been pardoned. You CAN'T use this ground, though, if your spouse went to prison because of your testimony.
The court can grant a divorce if your spouse left you with the intention of abandoning you, and has been away for at least a year. In other words, he or she has to have intended to leave and never come back.
If you and your spouse have lived apart from each other for more than three years, you can ask for a divorce on this ground.
CONFINEMENT IN MENTAL HOSPITAL
If your spouse has been confined in a mental institution for over three years AND there is good reason to believe that he or she will never truly recover, then you can apply for a divorce under this ground.
All of these grounds, other than insupportibility, are considered, "fault" grounds. That means that you're alleging that your spouse has done something wrong. As in any case where you make such an allegation, your spouse has the right to defend his or her self in court. That means a trial, that usually means lawyers and higher court costs, and in most cases it's just not worth it.
About the author: Daniel Adair spent 16 years working in a family law office in Central Texas. He is the author of, "The Texas Divorce Course, A Peoples' Guide to the Texas Divorce System," and has written extensively on the Texas divorce process.