How can a woman place a divorce demand against her husband on the grounds of his extra-marital affair and abandonment of family?

My friend doesn’t have financial needs to pay for an attorney. Her husband just left her with 3 children. He is having an affair with another woman. She would like to know how to proceed to charge him with abandoning her and their children. He has told her that he’ll just stop working so that he doesn’t have to pay her any alimony. She is heart broken and I’d like to help her but I don’t have the financial means to do it.

Asked on November 27, 2011 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Texas is a no-fault divorce state, but fault can be alleged as a basis for a divorce.  Every divorce in Texas begins with the filing or a petition for divorce.  Once the petition is filed, then the Sheriff or a private process serve will "serve" or hand-deliver the other spouse with a copy of the petition.  In the petition, your friend should include a request for child support and a request for marital support (Texas doesn't usually use the term alimony).  He can try to quit his job to avoid child support, but Texas has civil and criminal laws which can be utilized to enforce payment obligations.  If she has some funds, she may be able to find a private attorney to help with the filing and finalizing of her divorce.  Many family law attorneys will accept some type of payment plan.  If she absolutely cannot afford an attorney, she may want to call the district clerk to see if there are any local "legal aid" organizations in her area that can provide free legal representation.  The sooner she gets started, the quicker she'll be able to get some financial relief.  Once the divorce is finalized, she can seek enforcement assistance from the Attorney General, which is free, or continue with her own enforcement actions with a private attorney.

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