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Austin TX Family Law Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Texas Lawmaker Moves to Eliminate No-Fault Divorce

What is a no-fault divorce?

State Representative Matt Krause wants to strengthen marriages in Texas.  To accomplish this goal, Krause has moved to make it harder for spouses to divorce by eliminating no-fault divorce in the state.  Krause recently filed House Bill 93, which would repeal insupportability as a grounds for divorce and require a fault-based reason for approval of your divorce.  If adopted, the measure could have significant effects on divorce law as we know it in Texas.

No-Fault Divorce in Texas

No-fault divorce laws were first adopted in the 1970’s as a way of allowing couples to divorce more easily and without need to prove fault on the part of one spouse.  Texas was among the first states to adopt the no-fault system.  Texas refers to no-fault divorce as “insupportability.”  Filing for a divorce based on insupportability means that the spouses’ personalities conflict and the marriage cannot be saved.  Importantly, it imputes no blame to either party and does not require a lengthy period of separation.

When no-fault divorce laws were first developed, concern was expressed by some that by providing couples with an easier out to their marriage, divorce numbers could spike—and they did, at first.  In recent years, however, the divorce rate has been on the decline nationally.  In Texas, the divorce rate was 4.6 divorces for every 1,000 people in 1970.  Now, in 2014, that rate has dropped to 2.7 divorces per 1,000 people.

Opponents to Krause’s bill state that by eliminating the ground of insupportability, spouses seeking to end their marriage peacefully would need to live apart for three years before filing for divorce.  Couples seeking to divorce faster will need to allege a fault-based ground for divorce, such as abandonment, adultery, cruelty, conviction of a felony, and more.  Those who oppose the bill believe going back to a fault-based system would create contentious divorces that could further harm any children involved.  

Thus far, Krause’s bill has been met with mixed reactions.  Time will tell whether it generates the support it needs to become law.  Anyone considering a no-fault or fault-based divorce in Texas should consult with one of our divorce lawyers as soon possible.  


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