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If you have considered getting a divorce, you may have seen the terms “fault” and “no-fault” come up in any initial research you may have done. Divorce is a complicated area of law, a highly personal one, and one that can have profound impacts on the personal and financial future of anyone who goes through it. Divorce can be the best choice for a person and a family. To help you learn more about the process, we will go into the details surrounding the definitions and differences between fault and no-fault divorces.

What Is the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce?

In Texas, both fault and no-fault divorces are permitted. Fault and no-fault refer to different grounds that can be asserted as the basis for a court granting a divorce. In a no-fault divorce, as the name suggests, no party to the divorce is assigned the blame for the impending divorce. In a Texas no-fault divorce, the petition for divorce will assert that the marriage has become insupportable because of irresolvable conflict between the spouses without the possibility of reconciliation. In other words, the two spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences.

In a fault-based divorce, on the other hand, blame is assigned to one spouse. One spouse is asserting that the other spouse is the reason for the divorce. Fault-based grounds for divorce may include:

  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Felony conviction
  • Abandonment
  • Living separately for a minimum of three years
  • Mental hospital confinement.

A fault divorce is often more difficult and more costly. This is due to several factors, including the fact that more contentious divorces tend to be more difficult to resolve as the parties are unlikely to agree on many or any of the key issues of the divorce. Furthermore, the fault-based ground must be proven and the other spouse has the opportunity to respond and try to disprove the allegations. The responding spouse also can object to a fault divorce by disproving the validity of the fault-based ground asserted.

Why then would someone seek a fault divorce? While often more difficult, a fault divorce can have other strategic advantages in some situations. For instance, although many other states might not do so, in the State of Texas, courts will consider adultery in rending a decision as to how to divide a couple’s marital property in a divorce. A spouse found to be unfaithful in a marriage may face the consequence of receiving a smaller portion of the marital assets. It is important to note, however, that Texas law will not usually allow adultery as a factor to be considered in determining child custody and visitation.

Family Law Attorneys

Are you considering divorce? Talking to trusted legal counsel can help you evaluate your options and protect your legal rights. Get in touch with the dedicated divorce team at Navarrete & Schwartz. We are proud to serve the residents of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.