Texas is one of the few states that allows divorcing couples to seek either a fault or no-fault divorce. If one party commits adultery, for example, it may impact both property division and spousal support.
Read on to learn more about the Texas laws regarding fault-based grounds for divorce such as adultery.
Fault and property division
Like many states, Texas considers property acquired during the marriage as community property, which means the court will divide it equally in a divorce. However, the judge may award a larger share of the marital assets to one spouse if the other spouse committed adultery. This is especially true when he or she used marital funds to conduct the affair.
The impact on alimony
In Texas, you can request spousal support, or alimony, only if one of these circumstances applies:
- You cannot work because you care for a child who has special needs.
- You cannot work and cover expenses because you have a debilitating physical or mental disability.
- You cannot earn enough income to cover expenses and the marriage lasted 10 or more years.
- Your spouse committed domestic violence within the past two years.
If the marriage ended because of adultery, the spouse who was at fault may not receive alimony. In addition, the judge can weigh this factor in deciding whether to order spousal support and the payment amount. Alimony may not exceed the lower of $5,000 a month or 20% of the income of the person ordered to pay.
Adultery and custody
If one spouse commits adultery, it does not necessarily impact his or her ability to parent and will not affect a custody request. However, if he or she abandoned the family as a result of the affair, the judge may be reticent to award joint custody.
To request a fault-based divorce in Texas, you must provide proof that adultery occurred. This proof can consist of phone records, bank account statements, electronic communications or other circumstantial evidence.