Texas is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a spouse can ask a court for a divorce without a fault-based reason such as adultery or abuse. It also means that the other spouse’s consent is not needed.
In other words it only takes one spouse to end a marriage. However, the other spouse does need to be properly notified of the divorce proceedings.
That’s because a divorce is a lawsuit and under the rules of civil procedure, all parties to lawsuits must be given proper notice and the opportunity to defend themselves.
Another rule of divorce court is that people are not allowed to forum shop, meaning that people are not permitted to file their divorce in multiple courts to get the best outcome.
A Texas woman is being accused of violating both of these rules and could be sanctioned up to $250,000 as a result.
The case involves a high-asset divorce in which a wife was awarded a $400 million judgment. But the husband’s attorney was able to get that judgment thrown out after arguing that the wife filed multiple divorce cases in various Texas jurisdictions and did not notify her husband.
According to the husband’s lawyer, the wife filed a motion to have the original divorce case dismissed after she was unhappy with an agreement that was reached in mediation. The same day, she filed a divorce petition in a different county and did not notify her husband, even though she was able to contact him regarding an issue relating to their youngest child.
Forum shopping and failure to give notice are two big no-nos in divorce court, and the woman could pay up to $150,000 sanctions, a judge decided, after throwing out her massive $400 million award, Texas Lawyer reported.
How you can ask for a different outcome in your case
If you don’t like the results that were reached in your divorce, it may be possible to ask for a “re-do,” but not by filing a new case. Instead, what you need to do is to file an appeal that challenges that findings of fact or how the judge applied the law.
What to do if you can’t find your spouse to give notice
In some cases, it is not possible to locate a spouse in order to provide proper notice about the divorce proceedings. It may still be possible to get the divorce, so long as you can testify that you made every effort to locate the person and give notice.