Texas Flag
Texas Divorce Laws

What Are Grounds of Insupportability in Texas Divorces?

Sophia Merton
September 29, 2023

When you're planning to get divorced, one important question you might have is whether you will be able to go through the process amicably without all of your dirty laundry being aired out in court. By claiming grounds of insupportability in a Texas divorce, you do not need to state that either party is at fault for the end of the marriage.

Filing for divorce on the grounds of insupportability simply means that you and your spouse are incompatible in one way or another to the extent that you don't believe the marriage is salvagable.

Insupportability is the most commonly used reason for divorce in Texas. Even if you know that your spouse has engaged in misconduct that led to the end of the marriage, you still might choose to file for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of insupportability.

Going this route can mean that divorce is less expensive, less time-consuming, and less contentious than if you file for a fault-based divorce.

What Does Insupportability Mean in a Texas Divorce?

The Texas Family Code lists seven different grounds for divorce in Texas. The most commonly cited reason for divorce in the Lone Star State is "insupportability."

couple getting a texas divorce due to insupportability

This is listed as the first acceptable reason for divorce in the Family Code, which is described in this manner:

"Sec. 6.001. INSUPPORTABILITY. On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation."

To put this in plain English, you can choose to get divorced in Texas if you have no reasonable expectation that the two of you will be able to reconcile due to a personality conflict or discord in the marriage.

In other states, you'll hear this same concept referred to as "incompatibility" or "irreconcilable differences."

Stepping Back: A Look at the Grounds For Divorce in Texas

If you're planning on getting a divorce, there's a good chance there are a lot of reasons you can identify that the marriage isn't working out. However, it's important to understand that the issues in your relationship that are leading to the dissolution of your marriage won't necessarily be used as the grounds for divorce you state in your divorce petition.

couple getting divorced in texas on grounds of insupportability

You can choose to claim either a "no-fault" or a "fault-based" divorce when you first file to dissolve your marriage in Texas. Which option you go with will have a big impact on two vital factors:

  1. How much it will cost to get divorced
  2. How long it will take to finalize your divorce

Understanding No-Fault Divorce in Texas

Filing for a no-fault divorce means that you aren't making any claims about which spouse is responsible for the marriage ending. Getting a no-fault divorce is typically less expensive and can also reduce conflict between spouses during the divorce.

distraught man looking in mirror getting divorced in texas on grounds of insupportability

There are two different grounds for divorce in Texas that are considered no-fault:

  1. Insupportability: This means that the marriage isn't working out "because of discord or conflict of personalities" and that you don't have any "reasonable expectation of reconciliation."
  2. Separation: If you can show that you and your spouse have lived apart for at least three years without any marital relations, you can also get a no-fault divorce.

Claiming insupportability is, as you might imagine, more common than filing for divorce based on the grounds of separation. When you file a no-fault divorce due to insupportability, you are basically saying that the two of you aren't able to get along, and the chances that you'll be able to work it out are slim to none.

N0-Fault Divorce Vs. Uncontested Divorce

A no-fault divorce isn't necessarily an uncontested divorce. Filing for an uncontested divorce in Texas means that you and your spouse have already reached agreements about all of the important issues that must be addressed.

If you file for a no-fault divorce and you and your spouse have disagreements about these relevant issues, such as how property and debts are divided, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance, the divorce will proceed as a contested divorce.

Contested divorces pretty much always take longer and cost more. For this reason, it's worth making the effort to work with your spouse to find a reasonable middle ground to avoid an expensive, drawn-out divorce.

Fault-Based Grounds For Divorce in Texas

In some cases, an individual might choose to file for a fault-based divorce when dissolving their marriage in Texas. This means they are making a claim that their spouse engaged in misconduct that led to the marriage ending.

distraught woman getting divorced for insupportability in texas

The following types of misconduct are considered fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas:

  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment after a felony conviction for at least a year
  • Persistent and intentional cruelty (physical or mental) that makes continuing to live together unbearable
  • Abandonment for at least a year

There is actually one more fault-based reason for divorce in Texas, but the sense of "fault" is more technical than anything. The reason for this is that the final reason you can claim a divorce in the Lone Star State isn't the result of voluntary misconduct.

  • Individuals can also file for divorce if their spouse has been confined in a psychiatric hospital with little or no chance of recovery for at least three years.

Understanding the Need For Proof in a Fault-Based Divorce

Filing for a fault-based divorce in Texas means that you will have to prove, in court, that what you are claiming is true. In most cases, your spouse will probably fight back against the claims you are making about them.

It's important to understand that filing for a fault-based divorce can make the process much more contentious. There is always a chance that a divorce will end up as a battle in court, but fault-based divorces are much more likely to make it to the litigation process. This is the main reason that fault-based divorces tend to be much more expensive and take longer than no-fault divorces.

Defending Yourself in a Fault-Based Divorce

Did your spouse file for a fault-based divorce, claiming that you engaged in misconduct that led to the end of the marriage?

  • Even if you know that you are guilty of what they are claiming, this doesn't mean that you won't have a reasonable defense against their claims.

If you have been accused of cruelty or adultery, you might be able to use condonation as a defense. In most cases, you'll need to prove the following in order to successfully use this defense in a Texas divorce:

  1. Your spouse knew the full truth about your misconduct and forgave you, and
  2. You did not repeat the misconduct, thus demonstrating your repentance

It's worth noting that judges will only grant this type of condonation defense if they feel that there is no reasonable expectation that the two individuals will reconcile.

The Pros and Cons of a No-Fault Divorce in Texas

No-fault divorce has both advantages and disadvantages, and its impact can vary depending on your individual circumstances.

Here are some pros of a no-fault Texas divorce:

  1. Simplifies the Divorce Process: No-fault divorce often simplifies and expedites the divorce process by eliminating the need to prove fault or wrongdoing on the part of one spouse. This can reduce legal costs and court time.
  2. Reduces Conflict: By not requiring one spouse to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage, no-fault divorce can help reduce hostility and conflict between divorcing couples. This can be particularly beneficial when children are involved, as it can lead to a more amicable co-parenting relationship.
  3. Privacy: No-fault divorce allows couples to keep personal and potentially embarrassing details about their marriage out of the public record. This can help protect their privacy and dignity.
  4. Encourages Honesty: Without the need to assign blame, both spouses may be more open and honest about their reasons for seeking a divorce, which can facilitate more productive conversations and negotiations.

On the flip side, here are some of the cons of getting a no-fault divorce in Texas:

  1. Financial Disparities: In some cases, a spouse who is at fault for the divorce (e.g., due to infidelity) may not face the financial consequences they would in a fault-based divorce.
  2. Emotional Impact: Some argue that no-fault divorce may encourage divorce without adequate attempts at reconciliation, potentially making it easier for couples to give up on their marriage.

Learning the Ins and Outs of Divorce in Texas

There are few things more difficult than realizing that your marriage is ending. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional stress of breaking up with your spouse and starting a new life, but there are also complex legal and financial aspects to the process.

Filing for divorce based on insupportability can help ensure that your divorce isn't any more expensive than it needs to be. At the same time, it typically doesn't take nearly as long to file for a no-fault divorce than a fault-based divorce, meaning that you can get on with your post-divorce life more quickly.

Are you searching for more resources to help you learn about divorce in Texas? Make sure you check out our Texas Divorce Laws blog for guides, articles, and insights.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is a researcher and writer that aims to help make the complexities of the legal system understandable to the layperson. Believing that people can be empowered by understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, Sophia aims to offer accurate and well-researched information in straightforward and easy-to-digest legal articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Divorce Newsletter
Subscribe to receive information, free guides and tutorials