Sex, Lies, Rock-and-roll, and Adultery in a Texas Divorce

Impact of Adultery in a Texas Divorce and Beyond

As an attorney specializing in divorce litigation in Houston, Texas, I find that adultery is a recurrent topic that arises during my interactions with clients. This frequent emergence of adultery in divorce conversations might be surprising, given that Texas operates under a no-fault divorce system. In a no-fault divorce, a spouse does not need to prove that the other spouse committed a wrongful act or displayed any form of fault to obtain a divorce.

However, adultery persists as a significant consideration in many divorce cases. This article aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of why adultery is significant in a Texas divorce, how it potentially impacts property division and spousal support, the type of proof needed to establish adultery, and its relevance even after couples have separated.

Unpacking the Role of Adultery in Texas Divorce Proceedings

In a no-fault divorce state like Texas, a spouse doesn’t have to prove any form of fault to obtain a divorce. Still, many individuals often inquire if it’s necessary to bring forth an allegation of fault, like adultery, when a divorce can be granted on the simple grounds of insupportability, or a discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

Although alleging fault is not a prerequisite to obtaining a divorce in Texas, a common question that usually follows is: why would anyone decide to allege adultery under Section 6.003 of the Texas Family Code in their divorce petition? The primary motive for alleging fault, specifically adultery, in a Texas divorce, revolves around its potential influence on the distribution of the marital estate.

By successfully proving fault, such as adultery, a party can request the court to distribute the marital assets disproportionately, enabling the non-offending party to secure a larger share of the marital property. This possible disparity in property division is often the driving force behind alleging adultery in divorce proceedings.

The Impact of Adultery on Divorce Proceedings: Is It Always Significant?

Impact of Adultery in a Texas Divorce and Beyond

Despite the potential severity of adultery and its possible influence on the division of marital assets, it’s important to underline that divorce courts often adopt a relatively dismissive attitude when it comes to instances of adultery. Generally, adultery does not significantly alter the course or the outcome of divorce proceedings.

Nonetheless, there are situations where the courts might accord greater attention to adultery, particularly if adulterous acts were committed within sight or knowledge of the children from the marriage. This heightened attention derives from the potential negative implications on the psychological well-being and the overall upbringing of the children involved.

The Influence of Adultery on Spousal Support Decisions

While adultery may not have a substantial impact on the division of marital assets, its presence can shape decisions about spousal support. If a spouse qualifies to receive spousal support under Texas law and the presiding judge is disposed towards granting such support, marital fault, including adultery, may become a relevant factor in the decision-making process. In such instances, the judge will evaluate both the amount and duration of the spousal support, and the presence of adultery could potentially sway these considerations.

The Burden of Proof: Establishing Adultery in a Texas Divorce

Impact of Adultery in a Texas Divorce and Beyond

Accusing a spouse of adultery in a Texas divorce isn’t a simple declaration; it requires compliance with specific guidelines outlined in the Texas Family Code, specifically under Section 6.003. To establish adultery, one can present either direct or circumstantial evidence. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the burden of proof in establishing adultery is categorized as clear and convincing, which is less stringent than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” threshold typically applied in criminal cases.

The Persistence of Adultery: Its Relevance Post-Separation

An important point to note is that even if a couple is legally separated, acts of adultery committed post-separation remain relevant and can be used to establish adultery under Section 6.003 of the Family Code. Such acts, even though committed after legal separation, can still be considered in divorce proceedings, potentially affecting property division and influencing determinations of spousal support.

Concluding Thoughts: Grasping the Significance of Adultery in Texas Divorce Proceedings

Adultery consistently emerges as a critical subject of discussion in many Texas divorce cases, regardless of the state’s no-fault divorce policy. While alleging fault like adultery is not necessary to secure a divorce in Texas, adultery can hold implications for property division and spousal support determinations. Despite the tendency of divorce courts to downplay the influence of adultery, instances involving adulterous acts committed within sight or knowledge of children are given closer scrutiny.

To prove adultery, a clear and convincing burden of proof is required, and even acts of adultery committed post-separation are taken into consideration during divorce proceedings. By gaining a more in-depth understanding of the role of adultery in Texas divorces, clients and legal professionals alike can navigate the often complex and emotionally charged terrain of divorce litigation more effectively.

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