The Role of Adultery in a Texas Divorce

Adultery can be an emotionally devastating experience. Married people whose partners have cheated on them suffer complex and conflicting emotions like anger, regret, sadness, and jealousy. Often, this fundamental betrayal of the marriage vows that both spouses took is the final straw and leads to the end of the marriage in question. When one partner cheats, it can lead to a contentious divorce because the cheated-on spouse is still hurting and angry.

Texas is a “no-fault” divorce, which means that you do not need to provide a reason for the separation. All that the law actually requires is for you to claim incompatibility. However, adultery can still be a basis for divorce and there are strategic reasons for claiming alleging the fault of your spouse. One is pure vindication of your right as the innocent spouse who has been wronged by an extramarital affair. A more practical reason to pursue this course of action is if you are seeking a larger piece of the pie during the property division process. Although it is a more difficult process, if you are able to prove that your spouse cheated on you and that this infidelity caused the end of the marriage, a Texas judge may award you more than half of the marital property. It could also lead to a greater amount of alimony.

Adultery can also be a factor in determining child custody. Cheating spouse who bring their illicit partners into the children’s lives are more likely to find themselves in a seriously weakened position when they go to court. If you were the cheating spouse, the degree to which you exposed your children to the affair will factor into court’s decision. Another important factor is the amount of community assets the cheater spent on the affair. Adultery by itself is bad enough by itself, but the damage is compounded when the adulterer spends joint money on expensive gifts or vacations for the object of the extramarital liason.

One of the problems with using adultery as grounds for divorce in Texas is the fact that you must prove the infidelity happened, which can lead to a burdensome process of gathering evidence and reopening old wounds. At the same time, the differing attitudes of individual judges means that there can be wildly different approaches used in different counties and before different judges. Some are more tolerant of extramarital affairs, seeing them as symptoms of a disintegrating marriage more than the cause. Other judges can be deeply offended and rule harshly against the philandering cheaters who come before them. Knowing the temperament of the judge is crucial to succeeding in an adultery-based divorce in Texas.

Contacting a Houston divorce attorney who knows the lay of the land when it comes to assessing whether or not you should allege adultery in your divorce proceeding. Just because your partner cheated on you does not automatically mean that you must use that sad fact as the grounds for your divorce.