Can Adultery Affect a Divorce Award?


No one wants to discover that their spouse was unfaithful. If this happened to you, Texas law allows you to bring adultery to the table during divorce proceedings.  

Texas is a “no-fault” state in terms of a divorce, meaning one spouse doesn’t need to prove that the other did something wrong in order for the divorce to be granted. However, a spouse can bring grounds for the divorce during the proceedings. A judge will sometimes consider these grounds when awarding a disproportionate share of the marital estate (more than half of your assets).

What Role Does Adultery Play in a Divorce Trial?

The presiding judge is tasked with listening to the evidence and then making findings of fact. That means the judge listens to the evidence presented by both parties and then makes legal conclusions. The judge may find whether or not the adultery happened, if it caused the breakup of the marriage, and if and how much it will play a part in the divorce. 

Adultery causing the breakup of the marriage is a reason that one spouse might get more than half of the total money and assets that either or both spouses own in the marriage. Unfortunately adultery in divorces is so common that it does not have the shock value to a judge that it may have had in times past. Judges have been known to say, "Adultery is a symptom of a broken marriage; it is not what breaks it." A spouse claiming their spouse broke the marriage with adultery needs to have evidence both of the adultery and that it broke the marriage. If the grieved party can establish both elements, they are more likely to be able to get a judge to award the grieved party with more than 50% of the marital estate.

Judges want to hear if the unfaithful spouse spent community funds on the adulterous paramour. For example, if the judge finds that the spouse used the community property to purchase gifts for or went on trips with the lover, during the marriage, the judge may find that the cheating spouse breached his or her fiduciary duty to the grieved spouse or committed marital fraud which may result in the judge awarding more assets to the spouse cheated on.

The judge also will want to know if the cheating spouse has left his or her children in harm's way to pursue an adulterous relationship. This evidence can cause one parent to get custody over another.

The evidence and testimony in a trial, including evidence of the adultery, all become public record. This public record can be accessible to your business colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, and your children - anyone who requests the records.

What Role Does Adultery Play in a Divorce Settlement?

Many divorcing spouses choose to settle outside of court to avoid trial. If one spouse is aware their spouse cheated, and the cheating spouse does not want that fact and supporting facts to go into the court’s public records, the cheating spouse may be willing to offer their spouse more in settlement negotiations to keep the case out of court.

If the cheating spouse is also a parent, the adultery can affect the trust between parents and affect the coparenting relationship going forward. Fortunately, most people in this situation can differentiate between a person being a good spouse and a good parent.

Camille Borg Law PLLC Can Help

Whether you are the cheating spouse or the cheated-upon spouse, the attorneys at Camille Borg Law PLLC can help you navigate the court case with grace and dignity.

Contact the firm online or call at (469) 646-7763 for a free consultation.

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