Putting Our Clients First Every Time We believe in helping our clients transition through family law cases, as smoothly as possible.

What effect does adultery have on your Texas divorce

The reason that brought you to the website for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is likely the same reason why other members of your community are here as well. Infidelity (known in the law as adultery) is unfortunately common in marriages as most any family law attorney could attest to. The reasons why people are not faithful in marriage are many. When the end result is a breakdown of the trust and a violation of the vows taken in entering into a marriage a divorce may not be too far behind.

It is emotionally difficult to get to the point where you believe that you are ready to file for divorce. When adultery is the reason why you are moving towards a divorce that decision can be made to be even more difficult. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC would like to provide you some straightforward and honest answers as to how your divorce could be impacted by adultery and infidelity.

A break in the trust of your marriage means a longer divorce in many cases

Most divorces in Texas do not specify adultery as a the cause or “fault grounds” of the divorce. Most divorces end up being a run of the mill divorce based on irreconcilable differences. This just means that you and your spouse could not get along and despite efforts to reunify, a divorce is necessary as there is no hope of reconciliation.

However, there are those divorces that cite specific grounds for the divorce. You can think of grounds as another word for “reason.” The divorce is based on adultery, centered around the fact that you are alleging that your spouse violated your marriage vows and had an inappropriate, sexual relationship with another person.

This, unsurprisingly, adds another layer of anger and mistrust to the divorce. Even the most amicable spouses going through divorce still don’t want to be married to one another anymore. In these situations spouses may be able to exchange pleasantries but they still don’t want to spend a great deal of time face to face.

If your spouse has cheated on you then your emotions will be amplified in this regard. Not only will you want divorce, in most cases, but you will want your spouse to feel consequences for doing what he or she did. The main ways that those consequences come to bear on your divorce are the following:

Property division will be affected

Community property is the manner in which the State of Texas classifies property owned by spouses at the time of a divorce. It is presumed that any property owned by you and your spouse at the time of your divorce is community property. For you or your spouse to prove that property is a part of one of your separate estates then you must present evidence showing this. I don’t intend to tell you that every little piece of property in your life is going to be fought over in your divorce. However, if there is a dispute over property evidence will need to be presented to prove where it belongs- in the community estate or part of one of your separate estates.

With that introduction to the subject of community property in place, let’s transition into how adultery can play a role in how property is divided in your divorce. Property is divided by a court in a just and right manner. This is not the same as 50/50, however. If you ask a person on the street how property is divided up in a divorce you would be much more likely to receive an answer of, “50/50” as opposed to “just and right”, however.

What this means is that if your divorce case goes all the way to a judge for a final decision the judge must take into consideration all of the circumstances of your case when deciding how to divide up the community estate. If your circumstances involve your spouse being unfaithful to you this could have a profound and significant impact on this decision. Suppose, for example, that in having an affair over the course of a year or more your spouse used community property to purchase gifts, trips or other items for their paramour. These are funds that you have a right to and your spouse wasted them on this other person.

The remedy in this situation would be to award you a disproportionate share of the community estate in order to make up for the loss of income that was seen in your spouse spending community money on their paramour. This evens the playing field by providing you with more property out of the divorce. If you are in a situation where you know your spouse has cheated on you, do not disregard this as a means to avoid conflict. This conflict may end up being unavoidable, and you are more likely to win a disproportionate share of the community estate if your allegations are proven in court.

Time and money are investments you should be prepared to make if adultery is present

Suppose, now, that you are the spouse who committed adultery during the course of your marriage. Your spouse may have filed for divorce at the first opportunity she got, but she probably is not willing to talk settlement quite yet. She needs some time to decompress, and allow herself an opportunity to assess the situation and think about how she is going to negotiate.

Meanwhile, you are paying your attorney fees while nothing is going on in your case. Weeks and months can pass by before she even begins to consider what her options are. Your judge will put your case on the docket and mandate that your case be tried by a certain date but don’t bet on a short and sweet divorce if you have been unfaithful to your spouse.

Child custody and adultery do not mix

Your children are impressionable, especially when it comes to actions that you take as a parent. If you have made your children aware of your affair, even inadvertently, it can cause you suffer in the area of child custody.

Every decision made in relation to your children in your divorce by a judge is under the guise of: what is in the best interests of these children? If you want to keep your children with you half the time you cannot show a judge that you are anything less than an extremely fit and diligent parent. Carrying on an extramarital affair is probably the last thing you would want to do in order to show the judge that you are a good parent.

It does not matter if yours was a “loveless” marriage. Your children see your marriage as an example of something to emulate as far as their own lives. A disrespect of your spouse, coupled with taking time away from your children in favor of a paramour, means that you are not putting your best foot forward when it comes to fighting for your children.

At the end of the day if your divorce goes all the way to a trial every little advantage matters. An affair is nothing if not a huge advantage for your spouse to take advantage of in trial. You are well advised to attempt to settle your case prior to a trial if you have been unfaithful- especially if you have exposed your children to that infidelity in any way.

Questions about infidelity, adultery and divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC want you to know that we place the interests and goals of our clients at the forefront when we agree to represent a client. This means that we will use our experience to guide you through the divorce process but ultimately you are the one who will make a decision as to how your case will proceed from a decision making perspective.

To learn more about our office please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations with our licensed family law attorneys six days a week.

Categories: