A Southern Baptist lawmaker is trying to make it harder for couples in Texas to get a divorce by proposing legislation to eliminate “insupportability” as a grounds for dissolution of marriage.
State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) says the prevalence of no-fault divorces has contributed to the breakdown of the family in society.
“I don’t know if we don’t take our vows as seriously as we used to, but I think getting rid of the no-fault divorce piece of this may make folks concentrate on this a little harder before they enter into that relationship, or stick it out to where they can restore that relationship and the tough times in marriage,” Krause said in comments quoted by the Houston Chronicle in December.
Currently all 50 states offer no-fault divorce of some kind. In Texas the most common grounds for divorce is “insupportability,” which means that a divorce can be granted without proof that one spouse was at fault for the breakup of the marriage.
Other grounds for divorce in the Lone Star State include cruelty, adultery, felony conviction, confinement in a mental hospital, abandonment or living apart for longer than three years.
Krause, a fourth-generation Texan who grew up the son, grandson and great-grandson of pastors, is a lawyer who graduated from the inaugural class of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law in 2007. He is a member of Glenview Baptist Church in Fort Worth, listed as a member of both the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Southern Baptists of Texas convention.
The Lyttle Law Firm in Austin and San Marcos, Texas, said in a release that while divorce should never be taken lightly, the no-fault option allows spouses to divide their assets and go their separate ways without the drawn-out process often associated with divorce proceedings.
Krause also filed a bill to extend the waiting period for a divorce from 60 days to 180 days. Critics said the bill would likely draw out the divorce process and increase attorney fees.
Brian Hobbs, editor of the Baptist Messenger in neighboring Oklahoma, endorsed the Texas legislator’s idea in an editorial Jan. 13.
“The idea of re-introducing fault is not about assigning blame as much as it is about treating divorce more seriously and substantively,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs said churches should not leave runaway divorce and breakdown of the family to politicians, but instead offer ministries to help preserve and promote marriage.
“Let’s also pray for wiser laws that lead to a decline in the number of exes in Texas, and throughout this great land,” he advised.