Divorce can be a complex process. One of the most contentious issues that arise during divorce proceedings is alimony, especially when adultery is the reason for the divorce.
Hiring a seasoned divorce attorney in The Woodlands can help protect your financial future if you plan a divorce. Read on to understand the impact of adultery on alimony in Texas divorce cases.
Alimony and Adultery in Texas Divorce Cases
Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual activity with someone that isn’t your spouse. Texas divorce laws specify how infidelity affects spousal support payments.
According to Texas case law, adultery can be grounds for divorce if a spouse knowingly engages in sexual activity with another person outside of the marriage. The law also states that adultery can be grounds for divorce in Texas after a separation.
Alimony is usually not awarded in Texas if the divorcing spouse commits adultery. While adultery is a valid reason for divorce in Texas, it does not directly affect the amount or duration of alimony payments.
Texas courts consider different factors when deciding whether to award alimony. These include:
- The length of the marriage
- The financial need of the spouse requesting alimony
- The ability of the other spouse to pay
Evidence in an Adultery Case
The court will consider various types of evidence when deciding if to award alimony in a divorce case involving adultery. This evidence can include the following:
- Documentation or text messages proving the affair
- Testimony from both spouses
- Phone records showing calls or contacts
- Banking records
- Eyewitness testimony from credible witnesses who saw the affair taking place
- Photographic or video evidence of the adulterous behavior taking place
The court will also consider factors like whether children are involved and how much custody the spouse has.
How Cheating Affects Alimony
Infidelity can have a significant impact on alimony payments. When the cheating spouse receives alimony, the other spouse may use the affair to terminate or reduce the payments. In some Texas divorce cases, a spouse may use the affair as grounds for a larger share of the couple’s assets.
The court may consider if the affair significantly impacted the couple’s finances and whether it would be unfair to continue making alimony payments to the cheating spouse.
Speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer before taking action would be best. An attorney will help you understand local state laws and how they apply to your case.
Common Types of Alimony
Texas courts may grant alimony to either spouse after a divorce. Alimony is usually determined by the ability to pay. The common types of alimony available to a spouse claiming adultery include:
This type of alimony may be awarded during the divorce proceedings. Courts award temporary alimony to help the financially weaker spouse maintain their standard of living while the divorce is pending.
Rehabilitative alimony is paid regularly to ex-spouses that expect to have the ability to support themselves soon. It helps the receiving spouse regain financial independence after the divorce. For example, it may be used for education or training expenses.
Permanent alimony is usually awarded if one spouse cannot earn enough income to support themselves. This type of alimony doesn’t usually mean alimony payments will be expected permanently. Permanent alimony can be granted for a specific period, or it can be indefinite.
Can Adultery Affect Property Division in a Divorce?
The Texas Family Code does not explicitly address the issue of adultery and property division. Texas courts have the discretion to consider evidence of adultery when deciding property division.
When deciding on property division, the court may consider evidence that a spouse spent marital funds on the affair, like paying for hotel and gifts. Courts may also consider which spouse was at fault when dividing property. Adultery can be considered a form of mental cruelty, which is sometimes among the grounds for divorce in Texas.
Proven mental cruelty can lead to awarding a larger share of marital property to the abused spouse. If you consider divorce and adultery have played a role in ending your marriage, you should contact a seasoned family law attorney to learn more about how it may impact your case.
Courts may order one spouse to pay alimony to the other if it finds that:
- A spouse financially depends on the other during the marriage.
- The supported spouse cannot meet their reasonable needs because of disability or caring for a child with a physical or mental disability.
Can Adultery Affect Child Custody in Texas?
Judges focus on the children’s best interests and the parenting abilities of either spouse when determining custody and visitation. Therefore, adultery usually doesn’t affect child custody in Texas.
If the judge believes the adultery negatively affected or harmed the children, infidelity may be considered when deciding custody and visitation rights.
Call a Texas Alimony Attorney Today!
If you are considering divorce, it is essential to understand how adultery can affect alimony. Alimony is the financial support one spouse pays the other after a divorce. Texas courts have the discretion to consider cheating when making decisions about alimony.
Awarding of spousal support depends primarily on the circumstances of each case and whether adultery is affected, impacting the financial stability of either party. Although a court may consider evidence of infidelity when making decisions about alimony payments, it primarily focuses on ensuring both parties are treated fairly.
Adultery can affect the amount of alimony awarded and the duration of payments. Texas courts may find that the spouse should pay more alimony if a spouse has committed adultery. The court may also find that the unfaithful spouse should not receive alimony.
Speak with an experienced Texas divorce attorney if you are considering divorce and adultery played a role. An attorney can help you understand how adultery may impact your case and help you protect your interests.
Contact us to schedule a confidential case evaluation and consultation.