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How might House Bill 65 affect the divorce process in Texas?

If you are a married Texas parent and you disagree with your spouse about whether to divorce, you may soon find it considerably harder to have that divorce granted. Per WSPA.com, an amended version of House Bill 65, which would put an end to what the state currently considers “no fault” divorces, is expected to pass, meaning it is likely to eventually become law in the Lone Star State.

If HB 65 does, in fact, pass, it will only impact you and your spouse if you meet certain criteria. First, you must have children in order to be affected by the bill, and second, you must be involved in a unilateral marriage, meaning your spouse desires a divorce and you contest it, or vice-versa. Currently, you and your spouse may be granted a divorce if only one party wants it. However, the state representative backing the new bill asserts that this is problematic because its limits the other party’s abilities to attempt to hold the family together.

If no-fault divorces are no longer recognized, the spouse who desires the divorce must prove certain circumstances. For example, if you live apart for more than three years, or if you or your partner is confined to a mental health facility for this same period, the divorce may move forward. Otherwise, the spouse seeking divorce would have to demonstrate that infidelity, abandonment or another type of major offense ultimately caused the demise of the marriage.

Some who are opposed to HB 65 believe that its passage could ultimately cost the state more money, because it may increase the chance of you and other divorcing parties experiencing complicated, drawn-out divorce trials. A representative from the Texas Family Law Foundation also expressed concerns that spouses would be forced to stay in dangerous marriages if they were not able to furnish proof of abuse, mistreatment or a similar claim.

This information about HB 65 is meant to inform you, but it should not be considered legal advice. 

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