Today, I would like to discuss how adultery can affect divorce proceedings, the concepts of no-fault and at-fault divorce, and how evidence of cheating may impact property division, spousal maintenance ("alimony"), and child custody.
Infidelity can have significant implications in divorce proceedings. It's important to note that every state has its own specific laws regarding divorce, including Texas.
No-fault versus At-fault Divorce: In Texas, a spouse can file for a no-fault divorce, which means that they are not blaming their partner for the breakdown of the marriage. The most common ground for a no-fault divorce is "insupportability," meaning the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship, and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
In contrast, an at-fault divorce involves one spouse alleging and providing evidence that the other spouse caused the breakup due to actions such as cruelty, abandonment, long-term incarceration, conviction of a felony, living apart for at least three years, confinement in a mental hospital, or adultery.
Impact on Property Division: Texas is a "community property" state, which generally means that all property acquired during the marriage is considered owned equally by both spouses and will be divided equally by the court if the couple cannot agree on a division. The court could also divide the couple's debts.
However, in the case of adultery, the court may take into consideration the cheating spouse's behavior when dividing property. If it can be proven that the cheating spouse used marital funds to support the extramarital relationship (for example, buying gifts, paying for trips, etc.), then the court may decide to award a larger portion of the marital property to the non-cheating spouse.
Impact on Alimony: Texas law allows courts to consider marital misconduct, including adultery, when deciding whether to award spousal maintenance (alimony). If a spouse commits adultery, the court may take this into consideration and potentially award more alimony to the innocent spouse.
Impact on Child Custody: When deciding issues of child custody and visitation, Texas courts consider the best interests of the child. Generally, a court's main concern will be the child's physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Although adultery can negatively impact a child, a court will not hold an affair against a parent unless it can be shown that the extramarital relationship was or could be harmful to the child.
Finally, it's important to keep in mind that proving adultery can be difficult. It requires more than mere suspicion; it typically requires direct or circumstantial evidence that suggests the cheating spouse had both the inclination and opportunity to commit adultery.
This information is general in nature, and the specifics can change depending on the details of each case. As always, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in your specific geographic location for advice tailored to your situation.
BONUS! 10 Top Tips to Help Resist the Urge to Cheat!
Cheating in a romantic relationship can lead to severe consequences including the loss of trust, emotional trauma, and even the end of the relationship. If you're struggling with resisting the urge to cheat, here are some tips that might help:
Honest Communication: If you are feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled in your relationship, it's important to communicate these feelings with your partner instead of looking for satisfaction elsewhere. Most problems can be solved or mitigated through open and honest conversation.
Revisit Commitment: Remind yourself of the reasons you committed to this person in the first place. Consider the bond you share, the memories, the shared dreams, and plans for the future. This can help renew your dedication to your partner and the relationship.
Avoid Temptation: If there's a specific person or situation that's tempting you to cheat, do your best to avoid it. This might mean changing your routines, spending less time with certain people, or even seeking a new job if necessary.
Focus on Relationship Improvement: Rather than focusing on what's missing in your relationship, consider ways you can improve it. This could be by investing more time, effort, or energy into your partner or your shared life together.
Seek Professional Help: Therapists and relationship coaches can offer strategies and tools to help you deal with your urges to cheat. This can be particularly useful if there are underlying issues in your relationship or personal life contributing to these feelings.
Re-evaluate Your Values: Cheating usually contradicts a person's moral and ethical standards. By reviewing these values and reminding yourself of their importance, you may feel less inclined to cheat.
Build a Support Network: Having friends or family members to talk to can help you resist the urge to cheat. They can offer advice, provide a distraction, and remind you of the consequences of your potential actions.
Invest in Personal Growth: Focusing on your own personal development can make you less likely to cheat. This might involve learning new skills, pursuing a hobby, or simply working on becoming a better, more fulfilled person.
Physical Distance: If you're attracted to someone else, maintaining physical distance from that person can be beneficial. Avoid situations where you might be alone with this person, as this can create opportunities for cheating.
Practice Mindfulness and Self-Control: Mindfulness can help you recognize and manage your emotions more effectively, including the urge to cheat. Self-control, which can be improved with practice and patience, is also crucial.
Remember, these tips are just suggestions and might not work for everyone. It's important to find what works best for you and your unique situation. If you're struggling, don't hesitate to seek help from a professional.
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