Can I Get Divorced Even If My Spouse Doesn’t Want To?
Do We Have to Agree to Get Divorced?
In order to get divorced, a judge simply has to find that the marriage has become insupportable due to “discord or conflict of personalities that destroy the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 6.001. This is the technical definition of Texas’s “no fault” divorce. Whether the judge makes this finding because of an agreed decree, agreed testimony, or comes to that conclusion on his or her own after hearing each party present their case, the judge can render the parties divorced.
In the five years that I have been practicing, in primarily Travis and Williamson Counties, I have never seen a judge deny a divorce because he or she thought the parties could reconcile their differences without both parties making the commitment to reconcile. That being said, if one party sets a hearing and goes to court to say that they want to be divorced and that they do not think they can work it out with the other side, it logically follows that the judge would have to find that the marriage cannot be saved.
Normally, in contested divorce cases, the argument is not about whether or not the parties are going to stay married or get divorced. The argument is normally over how property and debts will be distributed and what rights each parent will have regarding the children (if any).
If you or your spouse are fairly certain that divorce is inevitable but are not ready to commit to it or want to have a trial period before finalization, Texas Courts can make temporary orders that will govern how the parties should act while the case is pending. Since Texas does not have a legal separation, I like to equate temporary orders somewhat to a legal separation. One main difference is that temporary orders are created after the divorce petition has been filed. If the parties find that they are ready to reconcile after abiding by the temporary orders, they can nonsuit their case and resume their marriage.
Circling back around to the original question, the answer is most certainly “yes”. It is sad, but often times both parties do not want to get divorced and it happens anyway.
If you are in the position where you have been served with a divorce petition, but do not want to get divorced, please do not ignore it! There are time sensitive issues that need to be addressed so that you can protect your rights to marital property and the children because a judge will order the divorce – with or without you.
Our firm understands that it can be difficult to acknowledge the ending of a relationship. Please contact us for help navigating this troubling time – whether you are the spouse requesting the divorce or the spouse fighting it. We offer free consultations. Call us at 512-255-2733 to set up a time to meet, or feel free to email us using our contact form.
—Jessica “Jessi” Houghtby, Attorney at Law
We are Round Rock attorneys practicing in Williamson, Travis, Bell, Bastrop and Hays Counties and the surrounding areas. We handle divorces, suits affecting the parent-child relationship, modifications, enforcements, attorney general cases and much more. Our initial consultations are free, by appointment. Call us at 512-255-2733 or email us using our contact form. We look forward to helping you.