Charlie: I am tired of this. We argue over money, our faith, the dog, even the silly thermometer. I am tired of living in strife. This situation is maddening and I can't take it anymore. This is not working Susan, I want a divorce.
Susan: Charlie, get over yourself. Married people argue! That's just like you, things get hard, you want to bail. You're such a quitter. Plus I'm the one who looks the other way on your stupidity. If anyone has the right to get a divorce its me.
Charlie: Then get it! What are you waiting on? Susan we are always at each others throats. Literally, we wake up and we argue until the sun goes down. This is no way to live. I want out.
Susan: You may want out Charlie but I am not giving it to you. I'm not letting your failures mess up my faith. You are going to have to figure out how to make this work because I am not agreeing to divorce you. Good luck getting a divorce without my agreement.
In the fictional conversation above, Susan is wrong to assume spouses must agree to get a Texas divorce. A court may grant a no fault divorce on the petition of either party to a marriage.1 Furthermore, a spouse is not required to show who caused the disagreements between the parties. They are only required to show that discord exists and it makes the marriage relationship insupportable.2 A party who tries to prevent a divorce on basis that a divorce would interfere with the exercise of their faith is also in for a disappointment. Regardless if a couple views their marital union as religious or secular, the State of Texas governs all aspects of their union.3The courts have found the rights, duties and obligations given at the beginning of a marriage are created through the laws of the state of Texas. As such, the state of Texas shall govern the termination of those rights, duties and obligations once a marriage ends.4
Regardless of agreement to divorce, a court may also grant a divorce to a party upon the grounds of:
conviction of a felony;
cruel treatment by one spouse to the other;
confinement to a mental hospital; and/or
spouses living apart for three years or greater5
If you are in a similar situation as Charlie, you do not need the other parties agreement to obtain a divorce. Contact our firm for a consultation to discuss how to proceed in protecting your rights and interests during divorce.
Author's Information: Attorney Tracey A. Beecher is a family law practitioner. She represents clients with divorce, child support, child custody, property division in relation to divorce proceedings, and child protective services cases. She appears in courts within Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties.
Legal Disclaimer: Each person's situation and circumstances are unique. As such, this article is given to provide general information only. It is not legal advice nor is it intended as a substitute for legal counsel. Should the reader need legal advice or counsel, it is appropriate to seek the assistance of a licensed attorney.
1 Texas Family Code § 6.001
2 Phillips v. Phillips, 75 S.W. 3d 564, 571 (Tex. App. – Beaumont 2002, no pet.)
3 Waite v. Waite, 150 S.W. 3d 797, 802 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, pet. denied.)
4 See Id. (quoting Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 90 197, 211-12 (1888)).
5 Texas Family Code §§ 6.002 -6.007