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How Does Adultery Factor Into Your Texas Divorce?

What Role Does Adultery Play in a Texas Divorce?

If you or your divorcing spouse engaged in adultery during your marriage, 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 help to know the basics as to how adultery can impact its outcome. Of course, anyone involved in a divorce should retain qualified legal counsel to protect their rights.

Adultery Defined

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.

What 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 – it is adultery. The fact is that Texas doesn’t recognize legal separation, so 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.

Adultery and its Consequences

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, you are entitled to request that you receive a disproportionate amount of the marital property.

What Adultery Won’t Affect

If your spouse is found to have committed adultery during your marriage, 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, your partner’s adultery could play a role in the amount and duration of your award.

Proving Adultery

When it comes to 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.

Your Spouse’s Adultery Could Affect Your Divorce. Consult with an Experienced Central Texas Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce is extremely difficult, and adultery can make it even more painful. If your divorcing spouse committed adultery, it could affect the outcome of your case. The dedicated divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas have the experience, skill, and compassion to help you. For more information, please contact or call us at 254-501-4040.
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