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

By Elizabeth Rayne

In Texas, you may be entitled to a greater share of the marital assets and a more beneficial custody order if your spouse commits adultery. However, proving that a spouse cheated is not always easy and a court is not obligated to take fault into consideration in its rulings.

In Texas, you may be entitled to a greater share of the marital assets and a more beneficial custody order if your spouse commits adultery. However, proving that a spouse cheated is not always easy and a court is not obligated to take fault into consideration in its rulings.

Grounds

In Texas, you may file for a "no fault" divorce, or you may file for divorce based on fault grounds, such as adultery. In order to file for a fault divorce based on adultery, you must have evidence that the other party cheated. For this reason, many individuals instead pursue a no-fault divorce, which is allowed in every state. Instead of blaming the divorce on one party, a no-fault divorce filing claims that the marriage is insupportable due to discord and conflict and you have no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Further, even if you do convince the court that your spouse committed adultery, the court is still not obligated to make its final ruling on the basis of fault.

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Property Division

If you are successful in proving adultery, you may receive more of the community property in the divorce settlement. Texas courts treat separate property, anything you owned before the marriage, differently from community property that was acquired during the marriage. Generally, each spouse keeps their separate property, while community property is divided equally in a divorce settlement. If you prove the other party's adultery was the cause of your divorce, you may ask for and potentially receive a greater portion of the community property.

Alimony

The Texas Family Code does not look at fault when determining alimony amounts. Therefore, receiving alimony, or spousal support, is not automatic in Texas and proving adultery is not likely to have an impact on the court's decision. Generally, courts will only award alimony if there is evidence of domestic violence or the marriage lasted for 10 years or more and one spouse cannot financially support herself. Alimony awards usually only last for three years.

Proving Adultery

In order to prove that adultery occurred within your marriage, you must present evidence to the court. The court requires physical and credible evidence, such as emails, credit card statements and printouts of interactions on social media websites. Furthermore, it may be beneficial for your case if you can present evidence that money from community property was spent on gifts or vacations for the object of the extramarital affair. Providing such evidence may convince the court to award you more of the martial property estate.

Custody

In determining custody, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. You may ask for a more favorable custody order due to the other spouse's adultery, but you must demonstrate how this would be beneficial for the child. For example, if you can show that the cheating spouse regularly brings illicit partners into the children's lives, the court may find it is in the best interest of the child to limit contact with that spouse.

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Missouri Divorce Law & Spousal Abuse

References

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Legal Actions for Adultery

The penalties for committing adultery vary widely from state to state. In California, adultery is not even a ground for divorce. However, at the time of publication, in South Carolina, adultery is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence up to a year. Depending on where you live and how you choose to legally address the transgression, the court could either not hold your spouse responsible for straying or award you a monetary settlement for his infidelity.

How Does Georgia Define Verbal Abuse in a Divorce Case?

Georgia law allows couples to divorce due to verbal abuse, but only if the abuse rises to the level of "cruel treatment" under the state's divorce law. Proving fault may lead to a more favorable divorce settlement, and Georgia law provides some protection to victims of domestic violence while the divorce is pending. However, even when circumstances do not meet the definition, you can still divorce under no-fault grounds, such as your marriage is irretrievably broken.

What Happens in a Fault Divorce in South Carolina?

South Carolina is not a progressive state when it comes to divorce. Some states no longer recognize fault-based grounds at all. South Carolina’s legislation still recognizes fault, however, and judges will also consider it when deciding issues of alimony and property division. In some cases, it can even tip the scales when child custody is in dispute.

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