THE ADULTERY FACTOR IN DIVORCE
Texas is a “no fault” state, meaning that a party does not need a reason to file for divorce and the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault. “No fault” divorces provide the basis for granting the majority of divorces in Texas. However, in many divorce cases, one party is found to be at fault. And, one of the major reasons for a spouse to be at fault is adultery.
Finding Fault with an Adulterous Spouse
Despite being a “no fault” state, Texas does recognize fault grounds for divorce. In fact, the Texas Family Code states that a court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery. Depending on how your judge looks at it, adultery committed after separation of the parties, but before the granting of a divorce, can be the basis for granting a divorce and for a disproportionate division of the community estate.
Adultery may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence, but not by suggestion or innuendo. Ultimately, it’s up to the Court to decide whom to believe. Hire a divorce lawyer experienced with adultery factors to protect your interests.
Adultery Could Cost You Money in a Divorce Settlement
Since Texas is a “no-fault” state, why would a party claim adultery?
The answer is because fault could become relevant when it comes to the division of the community estate or, in some circumstances, a child custody decision. Texas case law lets judges award a disproportionate division of the marital estate.
Family law judges in Texas have great decision-making power when dividing marital property. For instance, the judge can divide the marital property 60% to one spouse and 40% to the other based on adultery. Adultery in a marriage could also lead to the other spouse receiving a greater amount of alimony and adultery can be a factor in deciding who gets custody of the children. Just how much adultery will play in your case will depend, to a great degree, on who the judge is.
Irreconcilable Differences of Cheating?
Can adultery be considered if a couple alleges another ground for divorce, such as insupportability (irreconcilable differences in some other states)?
Yes. In a divorce action in which both parties allege insupportability of the marriage as the ground for divorce, evidence concerning a purported adulterous relationship between a spouse and another party is applicable with respect to the breakdown of the marriage and as a factor that the court may consider in the equitable division of the property.
Contact an attorney at our firm today to schedule a consultation. Regardless of what side of the adultery accusations you are on, we can help protect your interests in court.