An Affair Could Lead to Dissipation of Marital Assets

Adultery is one of the more common reasons that people end a marriage. Sometimes, a person is a serial cheater, who can’t help but stray. Other times, a person suddenly develops a weakness after a long time in the same relationship.

Regardless of how long you’ve been married or the circumstances of the affair, when you find out that your spouse is cheating, that may mean it’s time to end the marriage. It is relatively common for people reeling from the recent discovery of an affair to wonder how that affair will impact the divorce. After all, movies and television make it seem like spouses wronged through adultery may receive beneficial treatment.

Texas courts generally do not care about adultery

The sad truth is that unless you have a prenuptial agreement that applies a financial penalty for infidelity, an affair is unlikely to impact the average divorce. Texas is a community property state. The courts will do their best to fairly split up your assets. However, they will not consider wrongdoing by either spouse when deciding how to split things up.

There will not be a financial penalty just for breaking marriage vows. There is one exception to this rule, however. If you have financial documentation that shows your spouse wasted marital funds and assets on the affair, you may have grounds for a dissipation claim. This can impact the outcome of the asset division process.

What is marital dissipation?

The simplest definition for dissipation is the intentional misuse or wasting of assets. In a marriage, dissipation involves spending money or using assets for a purpose that does not benefit the marital union.

In other words, money spent on an affair is often a form of dissipation. Dissipation can also look like someone incurring debt right before or after filing for divorce or giving away assets to friends and family.

Dissipation can impact the outcome of the divorce

If it’s only a couple hundred dollars, it may not be worth pursuing. However, habitual cheaters and those with expensive tastes may waste thousands of dollars on an affair. Jewelry, hotel rooms, meals out at restaurants, and even rent or other gifts can all quickly add up to a substantial amount of money. If you know that your spouse was conducting an affair, reviewing financial documents to put a price tag on that adultery may be a wise decision.

Once you have financial records showing how much money your spouse wasted on an affair, you can provide that information to the courts. They may adjust their approach to asset division to reflect that dissipation of marital assets. You could receive more from the remaining assets if you prove dissipation occurred.

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