A state representative in Texas wants to make it harder and more burdensome for couples to get divorced in the state.
Representative Matt Krause from Fort Worth says that no-fault divorces in Texas prevent due process from taking place.
“There needs to be some type of due process. There needs to be some kind of mechanism to where that other spouse has a defense,” Rep. Krause said. He filed the same bill last session, but hopes this bill will pick up steam in the 2017 legislative session.
He added, “I think we’ve done a terrible job, sometimes in our own lives and own quarters, of making sure we do what we can to strengthen the family. I think this goes a long way in doing that."
Currently, couples in Texas can get divorced through the no-fault option without having to select one of the six categories of fault-based divorce (adultery, abandonment, cruelty, felony conviction, living apart for at least three years, or confinement to a mental hospital).
The Centers for Disease Control says that three out of every seven marriages in Texas end in divorce. Family lawyer Slav Talavera of Austin told KXAN that around 90 percent of his divorce cases utilize the no-fault option, which is usually easiest and least expensive. Usually the couple splits finances and property 50-50, making it less complicated for both parties.
Talavera said, “When you tell two people, who are already going through a difficult process, that not only do you have to go through this difficult process but we have to blame someone for this divorce, it’s going to be a lot harder."
The Heritage Foundation and other Christian conservative groups around the country have been lobbying to make divorce harder for couples. They reference studies like one from The University of Texas that found that one third of divorced spouses felt in hindsight like they didn't do enough to save their marriage. The study also found that children of divorce can be more prone to depression, arrests, addiction, and childhood sexual abuse.
Krause also filed a bill to draw out the current waiting period for a divorce in Texas from 60 days to 180 days. Critics say this would only make conflicts more tense and rack up much higher attorney fees.
“It may lower the amount of people getting a divorce because I think they will learn to not be able to afford it,’ said Talavera.
Currently, all 50 states offer no-fault divorce of some kind.