Does Cheating Affect a Divorce Settlement?
If you or your divorcing spouse engaged in adultery during your marriage, then it can play a role in your impending divorce, but that role may not be as significant as you imagine.
If you're going through a divorce, it can be helpful for you to know the basics about Texas divorce laws about adultery and what happens in a divorce if you commit adultery in Texas.
Of course, anyone involved in a divorce should retain qualified legal counsel to protect their rights. Contact us today if you need a lawyer for a divorce involving adultery.
Adultery Does Not Affect Custody or Spousal Support
If your spouse is found to have committed adultery during your marriage, then it does not affect your eligibility for spousal maintenance or alimony. Further, his or her adulterous behavior will likely not affect the child custody arrangements that emanate from your divorce.
The thinking goes that being a bad spouse doesn’t make a person a bad parent. If, on the other hand, you’re already eligible for spousal support, then your partner’s adultery could play a role in the amount and duration of your maintenance award.(Read more about spousal maintenance)
How Adultery Does Affect Divorce in Texas
Texas is a no-fault divorce state, which basically means that neither of you needs to prove that your partner engaged in any wrongdoing in order to obtain a divorce. However, grounds of fault can play a role when it comes to the division of your community property, which is foundational to the divorce process.
In Texas, your property is split according to a division that is considered "just and right" and is not divided exactly in half. If you can prove that your spouse engaged in adultery while you were married, then you are entitled to request that you receive a disproportionate amount of the marital property.
What is Considered Adultery in Texas?
In Texas Family Code, adultery is a legal term used when a married person voluntarily has sexual intercourse with someone who is not his or her spouse.
Sexual acts that aren’t intercourse do not reach the level of legal adultery. This means that if your spouse is having a heated online or telephonic relationship – including exchanging explicit photos – while you likely consider it cheating, it does not meet Texas’s legal definition of adultery.
Is It Adultery if We Were Separated?
If either you or your spouse has sexual intercourse with another person while you are married – whether you are living together or not – then yes, it is adultery.
The fact is that Texas doesn’t recognize legal separation (learn more about legal separation in Texas); therefore, you are married until you are divorced. This means that, if you begin a new relationship during the divorce process (even if you are living separately), it can be grounds for granting a divorce based on adultery.
Proving Adultery in a Texas Divorce
When it comes to divorce and your spouse's adultery, you must be able to provide either direct evidence or circumstantial evidence that is clear and convincing, which is more robust than the "preponderance of the evidence" that usually holds in civil cases. Suggestion, gossip, and innuendo will not suffice.
Adultery Could Affect Your Divorce. Consult a Lawyer Today!
Divorce is extremely difficult, and adultery can make it even more painful. If your divorcing spouse committed adultery, then it could affect the outcome of your case.
The dedicated attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen have the experience, skill, and compassion to help you. For more information, please call us at (254) 220-4225 or send us an email using our contact form.
- What Are Your Custodial Rights in a Texas Divorce?
- What are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
- Does it Really Matter Who Files for Divorce First?
Contact the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard online or call (254) 220-4225 for a free consultation. We've helped thousands. Military discounts are available!