Grounds for Divorce in Texas – Part 4: Folsom Prison Blues

Some states have laws that specifically list conviction of a felony as grounds for divorce, while in other states it may be considered as an act of misconduct that can be used as grounds for divorce. In Texas, conviction of a felony is considered grounds for divorce because it is considered a violation of the marital contract and a breach of trust between the spouses.

Per section 6.004 of the Texas Family Code ,  Part (a)“The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse:

(1)  has been convicted of a felony;

(2)  has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state; and

(3)  has not been pardoned.”

The law has a few conditions that a person in Texas needs to take into account before using the Felony Conviction as a basis for a divorce suit. First there must exist a felony conviction. Being accused and in trial for a felony offense in not enough.  Second, the convicted spouse must have been incarcerated for at least one year. As some convicted persons may have a delay before reporting to a facility, the clock starts when the door closes behind them. Third the convicted spouse must not have received a pardon. The first two rules establish a window for using this as a basis for divorce. The spouse must have been incarcerated for 12 months and not pardoned.

Part (b) of the rule has an exception, “The court may not grant a divorce under this section against a spouse who was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.” This mean that if the spouse was convicted upon the testimony of the other, then the conviction is not a valid grounds for divorce. Fear not, though, as this series will show a number of other grounds for divorce in Texas.

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