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State representative wants to eliminate "no fault" Texas divorce

Friday, September 22, 2017

A state representative has filed a bill that would make Texas the first state to repeal no fault divorce. He has also filed another bill that would require couples to wait significantly longer for a Texas divorce to be finalized. The representative claims these bills will help preserve the sanctity of marriage and give children a better future. However, opponents believe these actions could potentially have a negative effect on children, make divorces more expensive and force some spouses with lower incomes to remain in abusive relationships.

Texas instituted the no fault option in 1970 in an effort to reduce the amount of false information being presented in divorce courts. Prior to this, evidence was required to prove that a spouse was "at fault" in order to get a divorce, often resulting in bitter disputes in cases involving children. The proponent of the current bill claims that the ability to easily get a divorce has devalued marriage in the past 45 years. He asserts that children are more successful when raised by married parents, referencing a report from the Heritage Foundation.

But those opposed to eliminating no fault divorces are concerned that abused spouses and their children could be trapped in an unsafe situation if faced with a prolonged divorce since more time would be required to establish proof of fault. Also, "at fault" divorces are often more expensive than no fault divorces due to increased court costs and attorney fees, so this could be a burden to those with lower incomes. Opponents want to provide as many options as possible to families going through a Texas divorce.

Going through a divorce is an emotional process and can be overwhelming. Many in this situation often turn to an attorney experienced in family law to help them deal with all the complexities of a Texas divorce. An attorney can provide much needed assistance and advice as difficult issues, such as division of property and/or child custody, are addressed.

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

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