When a person is incarcerated in Texas, their spouse may decide that it’s time to get a divorce. However, to get a divorce in the Lone Star State, certain requirements must be met. First, one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Second, the spouse must determine the reason, or grounds, that they’re filing for divorce. There are two main categories of grounds, no-fault and fault-based.

No-fault divorces occur when there is a conflict that will prevent the marriage from being able to last. Essentially, spouses may not be able to get along and are no longer interested in being married. A former spouse may use no-fault as a grounds for divorce from a partner who is incarcerated because the reasons for irreconcilable differences do not need to be explained.

In Texas, acceptable grounds for fault-based divorce include abandonment, felony charges, cruelty, adultery and admittance to a mental facility. Essentially, if the action of the spouse ultimately led to the separation, the other partner could file for a fault-based divorce. To file for a fault-based divorce due to incarceration, however, the spouse cannot be pardoned for the crime and must have been incarcerated for a minimum of one year.

If someone wishes to get a divorce from an incarcerated spouse, the process can be difficult and confusing. A family law attorney may assist with determining if the former spouse has legal grounds to file for divorce. Additionally, the attorney might be able to walk the former spouse through the process, which includes the 60-day “cooling-off period.” This is the process of dividing community property and drafting a child custody order if there are children involved.