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Texas could be first state to eliminate no fault divorce

The decision to end a marriage in divorce can be a difficult one, even when the reasons are justifiable. Cruelty, adultery, a felony conviction, abandonment or time spent in a mental facility are all legitimate arguments for divorce. There was a time when Texas residents had to be able to prove in court that their spouse was "at fault" by one of these actions in order to attain a divorce. But that all changed in 1970 when the "no fault" divorce became law.

The requirement to prove fault was found to cause animosity between the parties and the presentation of falsified evidence to the courts. The 1970 change was enacted to help cut back on these problems. Making divorce less difficult to attain also resulted in lower female suicide rates, declines in male and female domestic violence cases and reduced female murder by their partners. Divorce also became less costly.

Texas State Rep. Matt Krause has announced that he will file a bill in 2017 that will eliminate the ability to secure a divorce for non-criminal reasons. Penned because reports such as those from think tank The Heritage Foundation have shown that children raised by married couples are statistically more likely to be successful in life than those whose parents are split, the bill could have far-reaching consequences if passed. A divorce would almost certainly cost more with increased court fees and attorney time, and more significantly, victims of abuse could potentially become locked into the relationship because they rarely document the abuse for fear of retaliation. Children of abused parents are also victimized in almost half of these cases. 

If passed, Texas would become the first state to eliminate the "no fault" divorce. Although rarely easy, a divorce is often the best and only practical resolution to a bad marriage. It can enable those involved to start anew. The reality of what is or could be required to finalize a divorce is best handled by a qualified family practice attorney that is well versed in Texas law who will work with the client to achieve his or her goals and start another chapter in life.

Source:, "Bill Could Make it Harder for Poor, Abused Spouses to Get a Divorce in Texas", Alex Zielinski, Dec. 30, 2016

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