What is Adultery in Texas?
If your spouse commits adultery, the act can leave you wondering where your relationship went wrong. Besides the sense of betrayal that you feel, you may be wondering what legal options you may have. If you have already filed for divorce, will an adultery claim affect your settlement agreement?
If you are in an adulterous relationship and are seeking a divorce, you need the experience of the Southlake adultery lawyers at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth⏐Family Law to present the strongest case in your favor.
Texas Adultery Law
Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with someone else other than their spouse. This includes any sexual interaction with another person when a couple is separated but not yet divorced. Any acts outside of sexual intercourse, including flirtations, kissing, fondling, or sexually-charged correspondence, is considered infidelity.
According to Texas Family Code § 6.003, “the court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.” Since Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state, courts are unlikely to grant a divorce based on adultery alone.
Is Adultery Illegal in Texas?
Adultery is not considered a crime in Texas, meaning that the cheating spouse will not face jail time or earn a criminal record.
Although adultery is not illegal in Texas, it can have an impact on your divorce proceedings. Adultery can persuade a court to divide assets unevenly between spouses, giving preference to the non-adulterous spouse.
Does Adultery Impact Alimony?
Adultery does not alter alimony or spousal support payments. Texas courts only award alimony in circumstances when they believe that the lower-earning spouse will be unable to financially support themselves post-marriage. The courts are restrained in ordering alimony payments.
Does Adultery Impact Child Custody?
Texas courts decide custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child. One spouse engaging in an adulterous relationship does not usually persuade a court to change custody orders. Although having an affair may make you a lousy partner, it does not automatically make you an unsuitable parent.
However, adultery can have an influence in rare situations if:
- The person the spouse is having an affair with is verbally or physically abusive to a child;
- The cheating spouse exposes a child to their affair; and/or
- The cheating spouse places the relationship with their companion over the relationship with his or her child.
If the adulterous relationship has a direct impact on the parent-child relationship, then a court may alter custody arrangements. In fact, if the cheating spouse’s significant other has a prior history of violence or other crimes, the judge may award custody to the other parent.
Does Adultery Affect the Court Process?
In 2020, the divorce rate in Texas was 1.5 per 1,000 people. Every divorce in Texas requires a requisite 60-day waiting period. A divorce can be finalized beginning on the 61st day after a person files a divorce petition. This applies to both contested and uncontested divorces.
For a divorce to be uncontested, the couples must agree upon the division of marital assets and debts and arrangements of where children will be living.
Alternatively, a contested divorce means that at least one issue is not agreed upon between the divorcing couple. If one person makes an adultery claim, the divorce process will most likely be lengthened. Proving marital misconduct significantly eats up court time.
How to Prove Adultery
Adultery is most often proved through circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence that relies on an inference to prove a fact. Leading examples are fingerprints or DNA evidence collected at a crime scene.
Top circumstantial evidence in an adultery case includes:
- Correspondence—letters, e-mails, text messages, etc.
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Phone records
- Pictures of the spouse spending time with the other person
As depicted on television or in movies, the innocent spouse may hire a private investigator to follow the suspected spouse and document their moves. Although a PI is an expert in gathering key evidence, the cost can be overwhelming. Hiring a PI will take away from funds that should be allocated toward divorce proceedings.
Contact Our Adultery Lawyer in Southlake and Nearby
In Texas, adultery is a common ground for “at-fault” divorce. If you need an attorney to best represents your needs, look no further than Mims Ballew Hollingsworth⏐Family Law. Contact us today to schedule your no-obligation consultation, helping Southlake, Denton, Fort Worth, and nearby families for years.