What Can You Ask for in a Divorce in Texas if Adultery Has Been Committed?

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

What Can You Ask for in a Divorce in Texas if Adultery Has Been Committed?

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

When filing for a divorce in Texas, you may have greater leverage in court if you can prove adultery has been committed. The judge may be more sympathetic toward you and consequently, make any final rulings more favorable to you. However, the court is not obligated to take this proof into account when making its final ruling.

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Fault vs. No Fault Divorce

Traditionally, a couple was only allowed to get a divorce if one spouse could prove the other spouse was at fault for ruining their marriage. Traditional fault grounds include cruelty, adultery, desertion for a specified length of time, and confinement in prison for a set period of time.

In a fault divorce based on adultery, you must provide hard evidence to the court that your spouse cheated on you. This can be difficult to do, however, and the other spouse can prevent a fault divorce if they can convince the court otherwise. For these reasons, many couples simply opt to file for a "no-fault" divorce.

Today, every state offers a no-fault divorce option. This allows a couple to file for divorce without proving one spouse is at fault. While each state's laws on no-fault divorces vary, typically the couple must prove their marriage is no longer supportable and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

Property Division and Child Custody

If you can prove to a court that your spouse committed adultery, you may have greater leverage to ask the court for a larger share of community, or spousal, property and a more favorable custody agreement if children are involved.

In Texas, community property is considered any property acquired during a marriage. In divorce proceedings, separate property—property acquired before the marriage—remains separate and stays with its owner. Community property, however, is divided in a manner that is considered equitable. This does not necessarily mean that it's divided equally. Rather, the court will divide community property in a way that is deemed fair to each party. So, if you can prove that your spouse was at fault for breaking up your marriage, a court may be sympathetic and award you a greater share of community property.

Similarly, in determining custody, a court considers what's in the best interest of your child. You may ask for a more favorable custody arrangement, but you must prove this would be beneficial for the child. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your spouse's adultery, you may be able to convince the court that limited contact with your spouse is in the child's best interest.

Other Considerations

A court does not take fault into account when determining alimony, or spousal support, amounts. Proving your spouse committed adultery is not likely to have any impact on how much the court awards.

Consider enlisting the help of a professional if you have any further questions on these matters.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.