Texas law still allows a spouse to allege adultery as grounds for divorce; however a finding of adultery really has no legal significance unless it is a reason to award more of the community estate to the victimized spouse. All divorcing spouses should be aware that Texas defines adultery as sex with someone who is not your spouse, even if it is after separation. People are still considered married after they file for divorce up until the day the judge signs the divorce decree. For example, a man who files for divorce and starts dating a woman four months after he moves out is still technically committing adultery in the eyes ofthe court.
Commonly, the most important factor in making this decision is the income history and income potential of the spouses. For example, a plastic surgeon may make 30 times more than her gardener husband, and, as a result, the husband may get more of the community property.
Adultery or other reasons why the couple is getting a divorce may be considered by the judge in deciding how to divide property. But, for most divorce judges, adultery simply does not play a very prominent role.
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Of course, every client needs to ask an experienced divorce attorney about the particular tendencies of the judge assigned to his or her case. In addition, proof or even strong circumstantial evidence of adultery can often provide strong leverage for a good settlement because the spouse who has cheated may not want the affair to be publicly exposed. A spouse who has been cheated on still feels terrible even if the adultery does not matter that much to the judge. The goal in every case is to settle the case quickly and fairly. However, this may not be possible if one of the spouses is really upset and not prepared to act nicely or think rationally.
The victim of adultery can usually benefit greatly from professional counseling.
When can I begin to date during a Dallas Texas Divorce? : The Wright Firm, LLP Family
Adultery can indirectly impact child custody or visitation, however, if a spouse abandoned the children while having the affair. If you have additional questions about divorce and adultery in Texas, you should consult with a Texas family law attorney. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service.
Laws against adultery are a natural outgrowth of laws and customs insisting that marriages be monogamous. Thus adultery has been seen as a wrong in every society premised on monogamous relationships. The law of husband and wife, borrowed in the early American codes virtually wholesale from English common law, has always included a duty of fidelity for both parties to a marriage. Marital duties are primarily enforced at divorce or separation, however, and thus adultery was considered a ground for divorce in every jurisdiction.
In states like New York that only allowed divorce on grounds of adultery, the law reflected a biblical principle that adultery is the only thing that would justify divorce. Because some of the restrictive states were densely populated, 25 percent of divorces granted nationwide at the turn of the twentieth century were on grounds of adultery, even though almost anyone who had another option pursued it. Divorces premised on adultery were also subject to special rules in some jurisdictions. One of those rules, at issue in the New Hampshire case discussed at the beginning of the column, is the defense of recrimination.
Fast-Forward: No-Fault Divorce, and the Incomplete Revolution
Divorce laws were heavily influenced by traditional morality. It shaped the grounds available, the evidentiary rules, the application of law to particular cases, and so on. The idea is that the adulterous petitioner is not innocent and therefore is not entitled to the remedy of divorce. In practice, the successful proof of this defense might mean that the couple has to stay married if their respective adulterous acts cancel each other out. In some states, the defense of recrimination applies broadly to all grounds for divorce, while in others it is reserved for adultery divorces.
Beginning in , the tides of divorce law began to turn. It thus provided only one ground for divorce: Both approaches had a common purpose—to identify marriages that could not be saved.
Texas Laws About Having a Relationship Before a Divorce Is Final
New York, strangely, did not add a true no-fault ground until , roughly twenty-five years after the other forty-nine. Many states retained fault grounds when they adopted a no-fault ground, creating a sort of odd mixed system, where couples can fight about the basis for the divorce, even if they both want the divorce and are entitled to it.
Most divorces today are no-fault, but when spouses do seek fault-based divorces, it is often for complex and sometimes messy reasons. In some states, a fault-based divorce can be obtained more quickly, because there is no mandatory separation period.
Even in states that do not offer fault divorce as an option, or in cases in which the filing spouse does not pursue that option, adultery may affect divorce proceedings. In non-community property states, judges are given the power to equitably divide marital property upon divorce. The equitable distribution process is guided by factors like need and fairness. But in a majority of states, judges may also consider marital fault in deciding how to equitably divide property or deciding whether to award alimony.
In most cases, judges take fault into account only when the fault resulted in some tangible economic consequence—e.