jeff-anderson-family-law-attorney-no-fault-divorceNo Fault Divorce No More? 

In Texas, couples can get divorced due to discord or conflict of personalities which destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents the reasonable expectation of reconciliation.  In other words, Texas lets people get divorced based on irreconcilable differences.  But, fault in divorce can be plead and a divorce can be granted based on fault, like adultery, cruelty or abandonment.

Texas Representative Matt Krause of Fort Worth wants to eliminate no fault divorces.  Is it practical?  Is it a good idea?  Will it help?  Representative Krause’s heart is, no doubt, is in the right place.  The preservation of marriage is a noble fight.  Most of us would agree that there are too many divorces, that children of divorce are statistically disadvantaged, and that our country’s societal fabric is frayed at the edges, or worse, unraveling all together.  But does the solution rest in the hands of government regulation?  Probably not.

The push to change the law is not practical.  It simply does not have the congressional support to pass.  If, perhaps several years from now, the political climate changes, we’re still a long way from requiring fault before a divorce may be granted.  Think about what people who want a divorce would do if the law were changed.  Most are not going to stay married just because they can’t show abuse or adultery or abandonment (or incarceration, etc. etc.).  They are more likely to contrive or disproportionately present scenarios which satisfy the changed statutes.  That means more acrimony in their divorce, more attorney fees to pursue the allegations and more attorney fees to defend them.  That is not to suggest their attorneys are complicit – lawyers work with what their clients bring them and most won’t support lies.  When we (we being the people reading this article, not we attorneys) find people who won’t invent or embellish their circumstances, then we might expect them to nevertheless go on with their lives.  Rep. Krause’s prospect would require people without fault in their divorce to wait three years before being eligible for a dissolution of their marriage.  For those who want to go on with their lives, then we are more likely going to see them living apart, living with new romantic interests and starting new adventures, all while their children, neighbors, friends and the country look upon them and shake their collective heads at the apparent loss of morality.  Morality may well have something to do with it, but people will do what they have to in order to find their happiness.  Is it better to let our citizens get divorced, free them to remarry when they find someone for whom they are better suited, and live in the legitimized parameters we’ve now created?

So, is it practical?  Is it a good idea?  Will it help?  Probably not.  Are there other initiatives we can turn to for help in promoting, supporting, and strengthening marriage?  Absolutely, they are wide, varied and virtually limitless.  From religious education to therapeutic intervention, there is support out there to help couples stay married and a motivated Texan can start some of those programs before they even meet their spouse.

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