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Is a felony conviction grounds for divorce in Texas?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2022 | Divorce

Having your spouse sent to prison after a felony conviction may motivate you to end the marriage. Texas law recognizes that a spouse could find a partner’s imprisonment intolerable due to the long separation or the actions that resulted in conviction in the first place.

Rules about felony conviction divorce

A felony conviction joins six other reasons that serve as grounds for divorce in the state. When you petition the family court that has jurisdiction in your place of residence, you may cite a felony conviction as the reason for divorce if incarceration will last for at least one year.

Imprisonment may be at a:

  • Facility operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • Federal penitentiary
  • Out-of-state prison

However, if your testimony against your spouse contributed to the conviction, you may not use the conviction as grounds for divorce. If your spouse receives a pardon, then the law also bars you from using conviction as your divorce reason.

Serving divorce papers

Although your spouse is in prison, you must still go through the normal steps of a divorce. You will initiate the divorce by filing your petition and serving your spouse with copies of the divorce papers. This step is necessary to prove that your spouse is aware that you want to end the marriage.

The Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 103 lists the people who have the authority to serve legal papers. A court may authorize any acceptable individual to take care of this for you, including a constable or sheriff.

Due to the fact that you are the person on the outside, you are in a better position to start the divorce than the incarcerated spouse. As the process moves forward, you can expect to attend one or more court hearings.