No-Fault Divorce Retrenchment: Trend or Fluke?

It seems like only yesterday that New York became the last state in the USA to allow no-fault divorce. But it was actually 2010.

One of the more surprising recent events in the always-evolving universe of divorce and child custody law is unfolding right now in the state of Texas.

After decades of no-fault divorce, the Texas legislature is considering restricting – not abolishing though – the availability of no-fault divorce.

The bill has been debated and refined over several months. The original bill was more expansive.

As currently constituted, the proposed legislation restricting divorce to fault-based grounds would come into play only in marriages where there are minor children and only if one of the spouses opposes the divorce. So, if there are no children of the marriage or if both spouses agree to getting a divorce, proof of fault would not be required.

Interestingly, to all appearances, the proposal has gained considerable traction in the state. And adoption into law is not unlikely in due course.

The reasons behind the bill are the same policies that kept no-fault divorce (and before that, divorce of any stripe) at bay for so long in so many places: a desire to protect children and strengthen the structure of the family unit.

If adopted, some divorces in Texas will almost certainly take longer and cost more. And some simply won’t happen. Good, bad or indifferent.

The larger question for those of us who follow such things is, of course:

What – if anything – does this proposed legislation in Texas possibly portend for Florida and other states in the US?

Anyone who has been contemplating divorce, strictly on the back burner, may want to follow developments in Texas as well…

Read more in

  1. this Texas Lawyer article: No-Fault Bill Could Make Divorce More Expensive, Increase Conflict
  2. this [Houston] Eyewitness News ABC TV 13 article: TEXAS BILLS PROPOSED TO MAKE DIVORCE MORE DIFFICULT and
  3. this [Austin] kxan-TV NBC article: Texas bill making divorce harder gets early movement .