When a Spouse Has Had an Affair: Will Adultery Affect the Outcome of a Texas Divorce?
The particular reason behind a couple’s divorce in Texas tends to affect its outcome. This is especially true when the main factor in the separation is adultery, which not only affects the how the court views the offending spouse, but may also affect what the aggrieved party, that is, the spouse who was cheated on, is entitled to. This can affect:
- Property division
- Child custody
- Spousal maintenance/alimony
But there’s a big caveat. Proving that your spouse cheated on you is easier said than done. Furthermore, a court is not obligated to consider fault when making a decision on your divorce. This is why if you intend on using adultery as a ground for divorce, any Texas divorce attorney will ask you if you can prove it in a meaningful way.Adultery as a Ground for Divorce
According to the Texas Family Code, there are two ways to go about filing for a divorce.
- First, a couple may file for a “no-fault” divorce;
- Second, one spouse may file for divorce based on one of the fault grounds, such as adultery.
And while adultery is a common cause of many divorces, many spouses still opt for a no-fault divorce because of the challenges associated with proving adultery. With the help of a reliable Texas divorce attorney, you can prove adultery as a ground for divorce and use it as leverage for a more favorable settlement if warranted under the circumstances.Property Division
One such area where proving adultery can be beneficial is during property division. As a community property state, Texas courts set separate property, or property owned by either spouse before the marriage, apart from community property, or property the couple acquired when they are married.
In a divorce, the community property is divided according to what the court sees is just, which is to say, what it considers is fair under the circumstances. So, if you can prove the other party’s infidelity is the cause of your divorce, you may receive a greater portion of the community property during division. Courts consider various factors in providing a disproportionate share of community to one spouse versus the other. The needs of the spouse, the children, and the size of the estate, for example, are some of those factors.Spousal Maintenance
While the Texas Family Code does not consider fault when determining spousal support payments, a court will consider alimony when the adultery is accompanied with domestic violence. In addition, if the marriage has lasted for at least 10 years, and the spouse is incapable of supporting herself (or himself in some cases) after the separation, the court may award alimony.Child Custody
When it comes to child custody, the court will always rule based on what is in the best interest of the child. So, if you’re going to use your spouse’s adultery as a reason for being awarded custody of your children, you need to demonstrate how and why this will benefit their welfare. For example, you can show that your spouse’s habit of regularly introducing illicit partners into your children’s lives can have a detrimental effect on their growth and development, among other things.