How Does Adultery Impact Divorce Settlements and Alimony in Texas?

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Adultery Impact Divorce Settlements
Adultery Impact Divorce Settlements

Texas law recognizes both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce, including adultery either before or after separation. Family law firms in Houston can help you understand how an extramarital relationship impacts spousal support, property division, and other aspects of a divorce settlement.

The Impact of Adultery on Texas Divorce: Advice From Family Law Firms in Houston

Proof of Adultery

To file for fault-based divorce, you must have clear, convincing evidence that your spouse had intercourse with someone outside the marriage. Examples include testimony that your spouse lives with another partner after separation but before divorce or emails or text messages in which your spouse admits to an affair. Visit this page to learn more about how an experienced family law attorney can advise you when pursuing a fault-based divorce.

Impact of Adultery on Spousal Support

Texas courts do not award spousal support based on adultery alone. The person requesting alimony must show that they cannot meet their minimum financial needs. They also have to prove at least one of these factors:

  • They have a physical or mental disability
  • They care for a child with a physical or mental disability
  • They lack the necessary skills to enter the workforce and the marriage lasted more than a decade
  • The other spouse committed domestic violence

If you qualify for spousal support, the judge will consider adultery when determining the amount and duration of alimony payments.

Other Factors Affecting Alimony

Judges in Texas generally award spousal maintenance so the requesting spouse can become financially self-supporting. In addition to adultery, courts consider your education, job skills, financial resources, and the length of the marriage.

State law establishes a maximum monthly alimony payment of 20% of the paying spouse’s gross monthly income or $5,000 (whichever is less). You can receive spousal support for up to five years if the marriage lasted 10 to 20 years; up to seven years for a marriage of 20 to 30 years; and up to 10 years for a marriage of longer than 30 years.

Impact of Adultery on Property Division

Texas is a community property state, which means courts divide marital property and obligations equitably between the spouses. Equitable division does not always mean an exact 50/50 split of assets and debts. The judge has the discretion to award one spouse a larger share of community property if the other spouse committed adultery. The court may take this route if your spouse spent significant marital funds on the affair.

Impact of Adultery on Child Custody and Support

Adultery does not affect the amount of child support awarded in Texas. The court uses a formula to determine a fair amount based on the number of children and the income of both parents. Child custody decisions focus on the arrangement that will serve the child’s best interests. Adultery usually doesn’t impact a parent’s ability to share custody unless the other parent proves that the infidelity resulted in neglectful or abusive behavior.

While adultery can impact both property division and alimony in Texas, it isn’t the only factor that determines the divorce settlement. Working with a knowledgeable family law attorney helps you navigate the challenging process of ending your marriage while retaining financial stability.

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