A trial court may grant a divorce on the ground of cruel treatment under the Texas Family Code Section 6.002 . To be considered “cruel treatment,” the conduct of the accused party must rise to such a level as to render the couple’s living together insupportable. Ayala v. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d 721, 733 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist .] 2011, no pet.); Newberry v. Newberry, 351 S.W.3d 552, 557 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2011, no pet.). You may think that in your case you have been abused. I had a client one time whose husband frequently pulled his pants down and farted close to the wife. The family’s children picked up this nasty habit and would do this to each other and the parents. This one event was not enough for a finding of cruelty in that case. “Insupportable,” for purposes of “cruel treatment,” means incapable of being borne, unendurable, insufferable, or intolerable. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d at 733; Henry v. Henry, 48 S.W.3d 468, 473–74 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, no pet.). Mere trivial matters or disagreements do not justify the granting of divorce for cruel treatment. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d at 733. Acts occurring after separation can support a finding of cruel treatment. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d at 733; Newberry, 351 S.W.3d at 557. A 2013 case which examined facts that supported a finding that the divorce should be granted on cruelty, found that the husband yelled and cursed at people on the phone, exhibited road rage while wife was a passenger in the car, came into her house after separation and would not leave her house and that, ultimately, she had to call the police to get husband to leave. When wife returned to the family house to get her property from husband, wife discovered that husband had burned her furniture and clothing. Wife also said that husband sent her pictures of her deceased son and husband deceased mother. Wife testified that husband conduct exacerbated her heart condition. Kemp v. Kemp, No. 11-11-00292-CV, 2013 WL 5891583, at *3-4 (Tex. App. Oct. 31, 2013). Thus, to to make a finding of cruelty, this would be fact intensive in your case. Make a journal of what happened. Talk with your lawyer to develop a case theory. Make sure your lawyer knows your judge. Then make your case. Fault can also be a jury issue.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney, who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases. He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas family law courts. Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Michael Busby Jr. 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Houston, Texas 77057 (713) 974-1151 Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com