Texas is a state in which it’s possible to file for either a no-fault or a fault-based divorce.
No-fault divorces are much more common and far less complicated.
It’s when you and your former spouse say you just can’t make it work anymore and it’s time to move on. Texas accepts that and allows the two of you to do that in peace.
On the other hand, there may be a number of instances in which one spouse wants to claim fault in a divorce. He or she may obtain certain advantages by being able to prove that the other spouse engaged in misconduct, so Texas provides them a number of legitimate grounds on which to do so. One of those grounds, of course, is adultery.
While adultery is not itself a crime in Texas, it’s not exactly legal either. There are a number of Texas divorce laws for adultery. You can be held liable in a divorce if you are caught cheating on your spouse or they can be held liable in the event that they were the cheater.
Regardless of which side you’re on with respect to the issue, it’s essential to retain an experienced Austin divorce lawyer to protect your rights. Still, you may find it useful to review some general information regarding infidelity in a Texas divorce case.
How does that work? In sum, adultery can affect two of the three key areas that are at stake in a typical divorce case.
Adultery Can Impact Property Division
If one spouse files for a fault-based marriage against the other spouse on the grounds of adultery, it could have a serious impact on the division of property. Texas is a community property state, which means all assets acquired during the marriage will be divided between the parties in a way that’s fair, just, and equitable; this concept doesn’t necessarily require an even split.
If you can prove that your spouse cheated on you during your marriage, you may be able to persuade the judge to deviate from the standard of equitable property division.
Judges are not, however, under any obligation to favor the spouse who has been cheated on. Typically in a no-fault divorce, assets will be divided in half. A judge could decide, however, that the at-fault spouse should give up more than half of their combined assets. This will most likely happen when adultery was the sole factor for the dissolution of the marriage. It can also happen when the at-fault spouse spent lavishly on their lover.
Adultery Can Impact Child Custody
The best interests of the child are the paramount consideration when a court is determining issues related to custody and visitation. Misconduct by the parents may affect the decision on these matters if the acts have a direct, adverse effect on the child’s interests. As such, it’s unusual for infidelity to affect child custody, but it’s not unheard of. It will depend entirely on the nature of the affair, how the children feel about it, and what (if any) negative consequences there were for the children.
Adultery Does NOT Affect Spousal Support
The third area that’s important in divorce cases is spousal support, known familiarly as alimony. Regardless of the strength of the evidence and potentially outrageous conduct, adultery will not affect alimony. Therefore, a judge will not take infidelity into account when determining:
- Whether you or your spouse is eligible to receive spousal support; and,
- The amount of alimony that’s appropriate for the eligible spouse.
Defending an At-Fault Divorce in which the Grounds are Adultery
If one spouse pursues an at-fault divorce on the grounds of adultery, the burden of proof is on them to establish that the adultery actually happened. Failing that, the court will not grant the spouse an at-fault divorce. They will be forced to pursue a no-fault divorce.
Seeking Help from an Attorney
Getting the courts to sign off on an at-fault divorce is tricky, especially considering Texas divorce laws on adultery. You need proof and you need to show that it caused the end of the marriage. A skilled lawyer can help you make that claim.
If you want to pursue an at-fault divorce on the grounds of adultery or your spouse is pursuing an adultery claim against you, the Law Offices of Ben Carrasco PLLC in Austin, Texas can help you make that claim. Give us a call at 512-320-9126 or contact us online and we can begin discussing your case immediately.