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Austin TX Family Law Blog

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Adultery and Divorce in Texas

How might adultery impact a divorce in Texas?

Adultery is a leading cause of divorce across the nation.  If you are going through a divorce due to adultery, you are likely wondering whether the existence of adultery will alter your legal rights.  Our Austin, Texas divorce lawyers discuss how adultery impacts divorce in Texas and what you should do if your spouse has had an affair that led to the divorce.

What is Adultery?

Under Texas law, adultery is defined as having sexual intercourse with a partner that is not your husband or wife.  If you are filing for divorce based on adultery, you will need to have some evidence of your spouse’s affair. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient, such as text messages or emails, so long that you can substantiate your spouse was likely committing adultery.  

Adultery and Alimony

Adultery can have a significant impact on alimony in a divorce.  Texas courts can award alimony to a spouse who will not have the funds to support him or herself post-divorce.  Alimony is only awarded in limited circumstances, including when the couple has been married for over ten years or the spouse seeking alimony cannot work because he or she must care for a disabled minor child.  

Once the court determines a spouse is eligible for alimony, it must decide the duration and the amount.  A factor to be considered is whether either spouse committed misconduct during the marriage, including adultery.  Accordingly, adultery can play a significant role in the award of alimony.  A judge might deny alimony to a spouse that committed adultery, or might award a higher alimony amount to the spouse who was cheated on, ending the marriage.  Anyone getting a divorce due to adultery should consult with a divorce lawyer to discuss their legal rights.  

Adultery and Property Division

In addition to impacting an alimony award, adultery can also affect the division of property in a Texas divorce.  A spouse who has had an affair could receive a lesser portion of the couple’s joint property.  Courts may also deduct for funds spent on an affair, such as money spent on hotels.  In some divorces, adultery can be a critical factor in the outcome of the divorce, so contact a lawyer for assistance with filing for a divorce involving adultery.


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