With the Valentine’s Day holiday quickly approaching, love, relationships, or even the lack thereof, are heavy on everyone’s mind. Many find themselves worrying about their spouse as this tempting holiday approaches. Let’s say that one’s spouse does cheat on them, as it is all too common. Indeed, 21% of men and 10% of women claim to have cheated on their spouse while married. It is normal to begin considering divorce. In fact, 40% of those individuals that have cheated on their spouse are divorced or separated. Fortunately for the innocent party in a divorce case, Texas courts can grant a greater proportion of the community estate and other financial support to them.
Adultery is defined legally, in Texas, as voluntarily engaging in sexual intercourse with someone other than ones spouse. While not technically illegal in Texas, proven instances of adultery can be considered in divorce court cases. Ultimately, a spouse’s cheating can be used by the innocent party to gain a greater amount of the couples’ community estate in divorce cases. This is because in a marriage, the community estate is equally owned by each spouse. For example, if the cheating partner uses the couple’s community property to purchase gifts or trips for their illicit lover, the innocent party has a right to those funds. Furthermore, if one is eligible for alimony, court-ordered financial support to an ex-spouse during separation or after divorce, a partner’s adultery can be a determining factor in the amount and duration of the payments. Child custody and child support are not affected in divorce cases with proven adultery, in that being a bad spouse does not make you a bad parent. An exception, however, is if the adulterer is dating someone who may ultimately put the child’s safety at risk. Also, if the extramarital relationship affects the child or the child’s relationship with their parent in any way. These exceptions would affect the adulter’s visitation or custody of the child. Adultery must be proven with clear and convincing evidence, such as text messages, emails, photos or videos. It is important to note that other sexual acts do not fall under the legal definition of adultery in Texas. So, when considering evidence, for example, an exchange of inappropriate photos between two individuals would not suffice. These instances of adultery must be shown to have occurred during the marriage, even including those that occurred after separation.
If you or someone you know is going through a divorce due to infidelity, you need assistance. An experienced divorce lawyer in Arlington, TX from Brandy Austin Law, PLLC can help make sure your rights are protected. Do not hesitate to reach out as soon as you know it is the end of your marriage.