Does a Cheatin’ Heart Make a Difference in Divorce?

Fault-based divorce in Texas often occurs as a result of an extra-marital affair. Many a “cheatin’ heart” has fueled the fires for emotional breakups. However, even when a marriage breaks up due to an affair, many spouses still choose to file for no-fault divorce. Let’s take a look at no-fault and fault-based options and some of the considerations involved.

What Proof Is Necessary for Fault-Based Divorce?

Adultery is one of the fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas.

However, it takes more than a “cheatin’ heart” to prove adultery. There must be clear and convincing evidence that shows sexual intercourse occurred. Sexual relations that did not involve intercourse are not adultery in the eyes of the court.

This burden of proof is often a challenge in divorce cases based on adultery.

What Aspects of Divorce Could Grounds of Adultery Affect?

Property division and alimony are two areas where adultery can influence how the court renders decisions.

Money spent on an affair (trips, gifts, hotels, etc.) may come into consideration when dividing property, and the court may decide the spouse committing the affair deserves a smaller share of community property.

A court may be less willing to award the spouse who committed adultery alimony or more willing to require that a spouse who committed adultery pay alimony. Even so, courts typically award alimony (referred to as spousal maintenance) based on length of marriage and spouses’ inability to be self-supportive.

In general, adultery does not affect child custody or conservatorship provisions. This is true when the court believes that it is in the child’s best interests to be in contact with the parent.

Why Would You Decide on No-Fault Divorce Grounds?

Clearly, no-fault divorce grounds (divorce based on irreconcilable differences) are less adversarial. For the sake of your children, you may want to make your divorce as amicable as possible. Also, cases that do not involve litigation are more affordable and take less time to resolve.

An experienced Texas divorce lawyer, who focuses on family law and divorce, can often help you reach a settlement. In fact, most divorce cases settle out of court.