Divorce, a process fraught with emotional turmoil and financial strain, can be further complicated when infidelity is a factor. In Texas, the impact of adultery in divorce proceedings can vary based on the type of divorce being filed.
The Types of Divorce in Texas
In Texas, divorces are bifurcated into two categories: fault and no-fault.
Texas is recognized as a no-fault divorce state, implying that neither spouse needs to establish the other’s misconduct to be granted a divorce. This provision allows for a divorce to be granted without any specific reason, merely citing “insupportability.”
This type of divorce, also known as an uncontested divorce, is the most prevalent in Texas. In such instances, judges typically divide marital assets equitably.
Texas also acknowledges several “grounds” for divorce, including cruelty, felony conviction, abandonment, mental confinement, living apart, and adultery. Citing a specific ground for divorce can potentially benefit the aggrieved party. The court may consider fault when determining the division of property and assets.
The Role of Adultery in Divorce Proceedings
Adultery, defined as voluntary sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse, can play a significant role in divorce proceedings. If you can convince a judge that your spouse’s infidelity should be the basis for your divorce, you may be awarded a larger share of the marital property.
For instance, if your spouse was unfaithful during the marriage and you can provide proof, the judge may decide to divide the assets in a 55/45 or 60/40 split, particularly if there is a significant disparity in earning capabilities or if your spouse used marital funds on their extramarital affair.
The Texas family law code mandates a “just and right division” of community property, giving the judge discretion when dividing property and assets between divorcing spouses. It’s also not uncommon for a judge to order the unfaithful spouse to reimburse the innocent spouse for “wasted community assets” – money spent on the affair for things like dinners, hotel rooms, trips, jewelry, etc.
Impact on Child Custody
When it comes to determining child custody and visitation, the judge’s primary concern is the best interest of the children and the parenting abilities of each spouse. As such, infidelity typically does not influence child custody or visitation.
However, if the judge believes that your spouse’s infidelity was detrimental to the children or that the unfaithful spouse is prioritizing their new relationship over the children, it could influence child custody or visitation decisions.
Proving Adultery in Divorce Proceedings
Proving adultery in court requires substantial evidence. This evidence might include communication records such as emails, social media interactions, or phone records. Other evidence could include credit card statements that show community property spent on another party involved in the affair. An attorney can help you determine which evidence is worth presenting in court.
Emotional Consequences of Infidelity
Infidelity can shatter even the strongest relationship, leaving behind feelings of betrayal, sadness, guilt, uncertainty, and anger. The emotional pain caused by infidelity can be intense. It’s challenging to move past that kind of violation of trust.
Infidelity may not only have a destructive impact on the relationship, which may lead to separation or divorce, but may also negatively affect the partners’ overall emotional well-being, leading to enhanced depressive symptoms and lowered self-esteem.
Strategies for Coping After Infidelity
Recovering from an affair can be one of the most challenging times in a marriage. Here are some strategies that can help:
- Avoid rash decisions: If you think you might physically hurt yourself or someone else, seek help from a medical professional right away.
- Give each other space: The discovery of an affair can be intense. As you try to grasp what has happened, you might find yourself acting in unpredictable ways or doing things that you usually wouldn’t.
- Seek support: It can help to share your experience and feelings with trusted friends or loved ones who support and encourage you.
- Take your time: Even though you might have a deep desire to understand what has happened, don’t go into the intimate details of the affair right away.
- Seek professional help: A marriage counselor or other professional can provide guidance and support during this difficult time. If you are considering divorce, talk to an experienced attorney.
Reach Out to Our Divorce Lawyers in The Woodlands
While infidelity can complicate divorce proceedings, it’s crucial to remember that every case is unique. The impact of adultery in divorce cases will depend on various factors, including the type of divorce being pursued, the evidence presented, and the specific circumstances of the case.