Adultery is one of the biggest issues in marriages throughout the United States. It leads to divorces faster than many other problems that affect couples. Adultery occurs when a person has an ongoing affair or cheats on their spouse on a short-term basis. In the state of Texas, there are certain laws pertaining to adultery. It’s important to know about them if you are considering filing for divorce.
Role of Adultery in Texas Divorces
Generally speaking, infidelity in a marriage that is leading to divorce can result in the court determining how property is divided and on the amount of alimony one spouse receives from the other. Texas is a state that allows for no-fault divorces, but a person can file for a fault divorce if they have substantial proof that their spouse committed adultery during the marriage.
According to Texas law, adultery occurs when a married person engages in voluntary sexual intercourse with a person who is not their spouse. A person who chooses to file for divorce based on adultery is required to show the court proof of an affair or cheating. There is no necessity to prove that sexual intercourse actually took place, but there must be evidence of an affair, such as text messages between your spouse and another person. Other proof, such as emails, photos, videos, phone records, bank or credit card statements are also accepted by the court.
Alimony in Texas
Texas courts award alimony to the spouse who earned less money during the marriage or who is unable to support themselves after the divorce. The court awards alimony when at least one of the following situations is in place:
- The party being requested to pay alimony has committed domestic violence against the other in the last two years
- The couple has been married at least 10 years and one party cannot earn enough to afford to pay for basic necessities
- The party seeking alimony has a disability, either physical or mental, which prevents them from earning enough money to pay for their expenses
- The party requesting alimony is unable to work because they are required to care for a minor child who has a disability
How Adultery Affects Alimony
In Texas, the court will consider adultery of both parties when alimony is requested and determines which one will pay. Conversely, the court can reject a spouse’s request for alimony if that person committed adultery during the marriage. It may be possible for the spouse who was cheated on to receive alimony if the adultery is the reason the marriage ended.
Texas courts recognize adultery as being committed even if the spouses were living apart during a separation period.
Other Matters Impacted by Adultery
Property division is also taken into account by the court when adultery is a factor in a divorce. The unfaithful party can receive a smaller share of the divided property and finances. The court also considers any money spent on an affair when determining property division. However, adultery is not a factor that prevents the cheating spouse from receiving child custody or visitation rights.
If you reside in Texas and your marriage has been impacted by adultery, contact Janice Eggleston at the Eggleston Law Firm. If you are considering a divorce, Janice Eggleston can give you much-needed legal advice and help you to proceed.