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No-Fault Divorces In Texas May Become Harder After New Bill


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In Texas, a no-fault divorce is the default mechanism to request a divorce.  Officially by Texas law, a no-fault divorce is when there are conflicts between two parties that could not reasonably be overcome.  In reality, it is simply the type of divorce two people seek when they are looking to get out of a marriage, and serves as a mechanism to ending a marriage with the least amount of drama. It also provides an avenue for victims of abuse to leave a marriage without a burden of proving anything beyond that the marriage itself is unsustainable.

State Representative Matt Krause is attempting to pass two bills in 2017.  The first bill increases the amount of time that two people must wait before a divorce is finalized.  This is in an attempt to get a couple to work out of their problems, instead of a divorce.

The second bill that Rep. Matt Krause is putting forward will make it hard for all people to get a divorce.  This bill would make divorce only possible for criminal reasons such as abuse and adultery.  While Mr. Krause states he isn’t trying to deter people from getting divorces, he also says he hopes to give children a better future through securing the idea of marriage.

While at first glance this may seem okay, it puts a thorn in the side for many divorces.  In some cases, women will seek divorce because they or their kids are being abused.  However, unless the man has been caught abusing his wife, this new law would make it impossible for them to get a divorce.  This could result in violent relationships to continue on.

Krause has been quote as saying that marriage has been devalued as of recently.  He wants Texans to admit to their mistakes and wants Texans to start communicating rather than getting a divorce.

The idea of no-fault divorce in Texas is relatively new.  It only became a type of divorce accepted by Texas courts in 1970.  Before then, one party had to be proven at fault for the divorce to go through.

Passing of no-fault divorces has shown a lot of benefits for people around the country.  When no-fault divorce laws started to show up there was a decline in female suicide, some reports say that they be between 8-16 percent lower.  Domestic violence has also seen a 30 percent decline for both female and male victims.

Domestic murder has also dropped 10%.

Despite these amazing statistics Krause believes that the law has not achieved the benefits it was intended to.  He says that children who grow up in married homes are raised better than those with split parents.  The reports he cites says nothing about abusive homes.

One of the main reasons that victims of abuse will not be able to go through with at fault divorces is that they are nervous to report their abusers to law enforcement and they feel it is a betrayal of trust that was started from marriage.

No fault divorces are also fairly less expensive than at fault divorces.  This means that those with less money might have a harder time getting a divorce.

Krause has acknowledged that his law might make it more difficult for both parties to get a marriage.  What he has also acknowledged is that he has no way to guarantee a solution for either party.

Krause’s office is supposedly looking into what people did to fund at fault divorces before 1970.  What his office isn’t looking into is how to make it easier for victims of abuse to come forward for at-fault divorce or to make the process easier for them.  For example, there is no current plan to make a loophole for those who claim abuse to get a divorce.  It would still have to be documented by law enforcement before a divorce could be pursued.

Getting rid of the no-fault divorce might be difficult for Krause so there is no immediate need to worry.  Similar bills have been shot down by the legislature.

With the internet, a lot of light has been brought to Krause’s bill and the negative effects it is likely to bring.  This should help make members of the legislature aware of the bill and to help them make the right choice to block the bill.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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