INSUPPORTABILITY AND NO FAULT DIVORCE
Individuals contemplating divorce frequently find themselves taking a crash course in the often-arcane legal terminology found in the Texas Family Code. One of the most commonly misunderstood terms in Texas Family Code is “insupportability.”
WHAT DOES INSUPPORTABILITY MEAN IN A DIVORCE?
Insupportability in a divorce refers to irreconcilable differences, or incompatibility between a couple that is allegedly the cause for divorce. The Family Code describes it as:
“discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
A common misconception among people is that insupportability means the ability of one spouse to “support” the other financially or otherwise. This is not the case. The concept of insupportability plays a key role in no-fault divorce.
With no-fault divorce in Texas, it’s not necessary to establish wrongdoing or blame. Courts may grant a divorce after finding that spouses can no longer live together based on personality conflicts and a failure to get along. It’s important to note that there is no realistic defense to a petition for divorce based on insupportability under Texas law, and there is no legal duty to reconcile.
WHAT ARE VALID GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN TEXAS?
In addition to establishing insupportability as grounds for no-fault divorce, Texas law includes six “fault” grounds for divorce:
- cruel treatment
- incarceration of more than a year
- confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years
- living apart for at least three years
While Texas divorce law makes no-fault divorce an easy choice for many, there are times when it’s necessary to establish fault. In cases where a divorce petition involves fault grounds, they are routinely included along with no-fault grounds based on insupportability. In such cases, a divorce may be granted based on the no-fault grounds, but the fault issues can influence the division of the marital estate, potentially granting a larger share of the couple’s community estate to the spouse deemed not at fault.