Adultery and Divorce in Texas
According to the CDC, in 2020, the Texas divorce rate was 1.5 per 1,000 people. A large percentage of these marriages that resulted in divorce were plagued by infidelity. Any time a spouse cheats, you can be stripped of your sense of comfort, security, and happiness in your marriage.
Adultery is a leading cause of divorce in Texas. If you have been the victim of a cheating spouse and are considering divorce, you need the legal guidance of our Southlake divorce lawyers at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth⏐Family Law.
What is Adultery?
According to Texas law, adultery is defined as the voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with another person who is not their spouse. Texas does not recognize legal separation, so infidelity of a spouse during a couple’s time apart will still count as adultery. Texas Family Code § 6.003 states that when adultery has occurred, the court may grant a divorce in favor of the non-cheating spouse.
No-Fault v. Fault-Based Divorce in Texas
Texas allows for no-fault divorce, meaning that neither party must have a specific reason for the court to grant a divorce. Texas law also states that “the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Basically, a couple does not need to prove fault, but rather that neither of them can endure remaining in the marriage.
Texas also allows fault-based divorce, and adultery can be grounds for this type of divorce case. Adultery can have an impact on the terms of the divorce. If your spouse was unfaithful, you would need to show that their affair was responsible for the breakdown of your marital union.
In order to prove adultery, a spouse must provide convincing evidence. Common evidence admissible in court includes emails, phone calls, and text messages.
In Texas, the court will accept either direct or circumstantial evidence to demonstrate adultery. While direct evidence demonstrates the truth of an assertion directly, circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence that will infer certain facts. Thankfully, circumstantial evidence can be presented on its own to prove a partner’s infidelity.
How Does Adultery Impact Property Division?
Texas is a community property state, meaning that any assets that were acquired during the marriage (with some exceptions) will be divided equally upon divorce. For instance, wages and rental property income earned by one spouse are considered community property.
An adultery accusation can threaten the 50/50 split of assets. Given the circumstances, a judge will always seek to make a decision that is unbiased and fair.
What Impact Does Adultery Have on Alimony?
A judge will look at several factors in determining alimony (in Texas, known as “spousal maintenance”).
Essentially, a judge must discern if the requesting spouse is unable to care for their “minimum reasonable needs.” Unless there is an extenuating circumstance, the court wants to see that a spouse is working toward eventually supporting themselves.
If a spouse is unable to support themselves, the court will take this into consideration. Extenuating circumstances, such as a spouse suffering from a physical or mental disability or taking care of a special needs child, will impact a court’s decision in granting spousal maintenance.
Does Adultery Impact Child Custody?
Generally, adultery in itself will not impact a court’s decision in granting custody of a child to the cheating spouse. However, if the cheating spouse’s new partner negatively impacts the child’s relationship with their parent, this may affect a judge’s ruling.
A Southlake Divorce Lawyer Near You
If you have found your spouse in the act of infidelity or found out after the fact, you need an attorney who knows your rights. Our divorce attorneys know what it takes to prove infidelity in court and are here to answer any of your questions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.