Although people have come to think of no-fault divorce as the standard, they are not the only option. Texas is one of many states that still permits fault-based divorces in certain circumstances.
When either spouse has evidence of special situations, including criminal incarceration, abuse or abandonment, the courts may agree to grant that person a fault-based divorce that declares the other spouse as the one to blame for the dissolution of the marriage.
If you find yourself facing a fault-based divorce, will you have to worry about it affecting your custody rights?
Marital fault does not automatically affect parenting
There was a time when judges might punish a spouse accused of infidelity or similar misconduct by preventing them from having access to their children. However, research into child custody matters has made it clear that children do best when both parents play an active role in their lives.
A judge making choices intended to be in the best interest of the children in the family usually seeks solutions that keep both parents involved with the kids. One parent filing for a fault-based divorce does not automatically lead to the courts limiting the other’s relationship with the children.
Only in situations where the marital issues endanger the children will a judge then factor those concerns into custody decisions. For example, if one spouse files for a fault-based divorce related to abuse and can show that the children suffered abuse in addition to what they endured, a judge may choose to limit the other parent’s time with the children for their safety.
Similarly, a parent who is incarcerated or not currently in control of the substance abuse disorder could find themselves denied parenting time because of the issues that might endanger their children.
Real evidence is necessary for fault-based divorces and custody cases
One spouse can’t just make accusations against the other and convince the courts to grant them a fault-based divorce or sole custody of the children. While the evidence standard for family law cases is lower than the kind of evidence required for a criminal conviction, there is still a burden of proof on the person making accusations in family court.
Learning more about the rules that apply in Texas custody cases can help parents better prepare to assert their legal rights.