Texas divorce laws follow certain guidelines and steps to complete the process. All cases that are filed in the state must declare the grounds based on which it is to be granted. One of the grounds or reasons for divorce is adultery. It states that when a spouse is cheating on the other spouse, i.e. has committed extramarital sex, then the court may end the relationship in favor of the complaining spouse. If a spouse can prove that the partner has been cheating, then a ‘fault’ based end of relation is granted by the court.
A case involving a cheating spouse is an emotional devastating experience. Once the spouses come to know about the betrayal behavior of the partner, the situation leads to intense arguing, fighting and emotional trauma. Texas divorce law for adultery does not consider extramarital sex as an illegal act. All that the rules actually require is to claim incompatibility along with evidence. The spouse should consider hiring an experienced attorney to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
In ‘fault based’ case, the spouse blames or proves that the other spouse has done something wrong or has committed an act which doesn’t support a marriage. Cheating is one of the grounds for such type of parting ways. It is very important in fault based divorces to provide the evidence of the cheating done by the spouse. The various forms of evidence include:
- Eye-witness or photographs
- Love letters
- Voice mails
- Internet chat history
- Hotel or travel records and gift bills
However, the complaining spouse should not acquire illegal methods of scratching out information of evidence, that could lead to criminal charges.
Qualification for Granting ‘Extra Marital Sex’ as a Ground for Separation
The state law grants a marriage split only when either spouse is a Texas resident for at least six months and resided in the county where the petition is filed for at least 90 days. The petition is filed in the district court of the county, where either party lives. It must state the grounds on which the dissociation will be granted.
Interpretation of Infidelity by the Court
Texas divorce law do not have any standard method of handling the issue of extra marital sex. It is completely left at the judge’s own discretion to assess it. There are several approaches used in by different judge’s in different counties. Some are extremely tolerant when dealing with the issue, while some can be offended with the level of infidelity. There are some judges, who adopt an approach that is a medium level method. The judge tries to determine the status of the marriage before cheating was found out. This gives rise to two types of situations:
- The partners were happily married and had positive plans about their married life. However, when extra marital sex relationship was discovered, it became the reason for end of relationships. Then, the judge decides that the cheater is at fault and rules accordingly.
- While the partners were separated or the proceeding was in progress, the cheating took place. Then, the judge does not give much weight to it The temperament of the judge acts as the main factor in succeeding the cheating based case.
Property Division and Alimony
If it is proven that the partner has cheated and that this infidelity has resulted in the termination of the marriage, the judge may award the accused spouse more than half of the marital property in ending the relationship. The judge may also divide 70% to one spouse and 30% to the other, depending on the income history and potential of both the spouses. It could also lead to a greater amount of alimony.
Child Custody and Support
Extra marital affair can also be a factor in determining child custody. The judge may consider the extent to which the cheating spouse has exposed the children to the affair. The court aims to decide at ‘the best interests of the child.’ The court may demand concrete proof that the behavior of a parent has definitely harmed the child or is likely to harm the child if this parent is awarded custody. There are instances where the child is exposed stress due to the cheating of his/her parents. This is a negative point against the adulterous parent during determination of child custody. Some parents have a cautious affair while their marriage is in progress and the child is not affected by this. In such a case, it is not an important issue that would affect child custody.
Tips for Handling Adultery Case
- Consult a lawyer for court proceedings. Without a lawyer’s help, the chances of errors and just decisions are much higher.
- Be aware of the state laws and guidelines
- Always provide relevant and right information. Do not try to hide any facts.
- Collect evidence in a cautious way and don’t indulge in illegal methods
- Move ahead in life and try to be emotionally strong
- Always safeguard the children and try not to involve them in the matter
Cheating is an unfortunate incident in a couple’s married life. It must be independently proven and requires a lot of investigation. Texas divorce law for adultery allows the accused to contest the grounds. The judge’s approach to cheating will be completely different depending upon the temperament and the evidence of cheating due to extra marital relationship.