How Do I Get a No-Fault Divorce in Texas?

Couples have a few different options when officially filing the paperwork for divorce.

It is possible to file for a divorce when you are blaming your spouse’s actions for causing you to do this. This is a divorce with fault. However, it is also possible to file without listing a reason for seeking a divorce, which is a no-fault divorce. So, how do I get a no-fault divorce in Texas?

When you want to try to get a no-fault divorce in Texas, you just need to file the proper paperwork with your local court system, such as in Bexar County for San Antonio residents. Since there are several documents involved in filing for divorce correctly, even for a no-fault divorce, many people seek the help of a divorce lawyer. Having legal representation makes it easier to follow all the rules the state of Texas has for filing for divorce, and to keep the process moving forward as smoothly as possible.

Learn How to File a No-Fault Divorce in Texas

When you want to start the process of filing a no-fault divorce in Texas, your divorce attorney can help you. Having legal representation throughout the process ensures that you do not miss any steps and that you do not make errors.

Although, if you are curious about whether you qualify to file for a no-fault divorce in Texas before you reach out to our divorce lawyer, two primary requirements exist:

Meeting the Residency Requirement

Before you can file for a no-fault divorce – or a divorce where you want to assign fault – you must meet the residency requirement outlined in Tex. Fam. Code § 6.301, which includes:

  • Having lived in Texas for at least six months before filing for divorce
  • Having lived in the county where you plan to file for divorce for at least 90 days.

If you do not meet these requirements, you will have to wait until the proper amount of time passes before you can file. However, as a potential workaround, if your spouse continues to live in Texas but you have moved to a different state, and if your spouse meets the six-month requirement, you can file for divorce in Texas. This works even though you no longer meet the residency requirement.

Additionally, members of the military who are stationed outside of Texas because of a required deployment, but who lived in Texas for the appropriate amount of time, may still be able to file for divorce in Texas legally.

Agreeing on the Reasons for Divorce

When filing for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse should both agree to filing for divorce in this manner. It can only function as a no-fault divorce when both spouses agree that they will not accuse the other spouse of causing the divorce.

When the two of you decide to file for a no-fault divorce, you still have to give a reason for the divorce in the paperwork. Our team can help you file for a no-fault divorce by saying that the marriage is no longer supportable and that the two of you do not believe you can reconcile. Texas courts always approve this language as the reason for a no-fault divorce. (Later, we will discuss the reasons you can give for filing for a divorce with fault.)

Consider that if you initiate the process of filing for divorce, and if you file under the idea that this is a no-fault divorce, you have the individual right to do this. However, if your spouse decides to accuse you of causing the divorce in response to your filing for divorce, it then can become a divorce with fault.

Without both parties agreeing that you will not accuse the other of fault, a no-fault divorce filing becomes nearly impossible.

How Long Does a No-Fault Divorce Take in Texas?

It will require a minimum of 60 days from the date you filed the divorce papers. Tex. Fam. Code § 6.702 requires the court to wait 60 days after the divorce filing occurs before granting the divorce.

If the two of you agree on everything related to the divorce settlement, and if you are filing for a no-fault divorce, the process may only take a few months. By comparison, divorces in Texas where fault is part of the filing can take several months to settle. Additionally, the more items that are in dispute regarding the divorce, the longer the divorce will take to settle. Even if you are trying to get a no-fault divorce, and the two of you have disagreements about how to divide property and how to handle child custody, you can expect the process to take several months.

One way the law allows divorce proceedings to go faster is if one spouse has a restraining order filed against the other spouse, or if one spouse receives a charge of domestic violence. In these dangerous situations, the judge could grant the divorce more quickly. However, because domestic violence would not be part of seeking a no-fault divorce, this option does not apply in a case like this.

How Do I Know If I Should Get a No-Fault Divorce in Texas or a Divorce with Fault?

If you are preparing to file for divorce, you may be wondering whether you should try to get a no-fault divorce or whether you should try to assign fault to your spouse in the divorce proceedings.

The biggest potential advantage to you in attempting to blame your spouse for the divorce is that the judge may be willing to give you a better deal in the settlement. For example, if you would like to receive a greater share of your marital property or if you want a more advantageous child custody situation, the judge may award you these benefits if you and our team of representatives can show that your spouse’s actions are the clear reason for the divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the judge is not going to give one spouse an automatic advantage in property division or child custody over the other spouse.

Even if we choose to file for divorce with the inclusion of fault, the judge may decide that not enough evidence exists to be able to blame your spouse for causing the divorce. If this occurs, the judge still may grant our request for a divorce, but the judge may simply call it a no-fault divorce.

Reasons for Granting a Divorce with Fault

Texas lists certain items that you can use when filing for a divorce with fault:

  • Abandonment: If your spouse leaves you voluntarily for at least one year and has no intention of returning to a life with you, you often can use this fact to assign fault to your spouse for the divorce you are seeking.
  • Adultery: If your spouse cheated on you, and if you can prove it, this can be a reason for finding fault in a divorce. Adultery itself (either by you or by your spouse) does not eliminate your chances of paying or receiving alimony. However, the spouse who cheated could receive a less favorable settlement.
  • Conviction: If one spouse receives a felony conviction in the Texas legal system, this can be a reason to assign fault for the divorce.
  • Cruelty: Cruelty is difficult to define, but it can potentially be a reason to find one spouse at fault for the divorce. Either mental or physical cruelty can be part of this.

Dangers of Seeking a Divorce with Fault

Although it may feel good to tell the judge that your spouse is at fault for the divorce because of adultery or another reason, this is not always the best strategy because of the following:

  • Lengthy process: Once you file for a divorce with fault, your spouse is likely to begin contesting your requests for property division or child custody. This causes the divorce proceedings to drag out.
  • Public record: When you begin describing the ways your spouse caused the divorce and should be found at fault, these items can become part of the public record of your divorce. Judges often strike some of the descriptions of your spouse’s actions if they are too inflammatory, but not always.
  • Retaliation: When you begin listing your spouse’s actions that led to the divorce, it is possible that your spouse will retaliate and accuse you of fault in the divorce filing paperwork. With a no-fault divorce, these back-and-forth accusations do not occur.

Let Amsberry Law Firm Represent You When You Are Trying to Get a No-Fault Divorce in Texas

As a trusted San Antonio divorce lawyer, Amsberry Law Firm has decades of experience helping clients file for divorce in situations where they want to mention fault and where they want a no-fault divorce filing. We work hard to serve our clients, seeking the best possible results in divorce settlements. We do not allow your spouse’s representatives to spread half-truths about you or to treat you unfairly. We will defend your rights and your reputation.

You may be unsure whether trying to get a no-fault divorce in Texas is the right way to go, or whether you should try to assign fault to your spouse. Do not worry, our team will take the time to listen to your story about your marriage, and your hopes for your life after the divorce. With this information at our disposal, we can then give you advice about the best way to proceed.

Our goal is to stand by your side during this challenging time which is not easy due to the emotional exhaustion that it entails. We want to fight for your peace of mind while filing divorce papers. For a discussion of your situation, contact Amsberry Law Firm today, or give us a call at (210) 354-2244.

Attorney Russell Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry founded the Amsberry Law Firm in 1995 with the goal of providing clients with exceptional, focused representation on their issues. His success as a legal advocate has been reflected in the numerous professional honors he has received, such as speaking engagements and inclusion in Scene in SA magazine’s listing of the best lawyers in San Antonio, a Distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubble, and an amazing rating from Avvo. [ Attorney Bio ]

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Amsberry Law Firm

The Amsberry Law Firm, founded in 1995, has helped thousands of clients overcome their unique legal challenges.

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