Effect of Adultery on division of property in a Texas divorce By Angela Oaks

by News Editor
in Blog
on 12 February 2016
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We have all heard of the wife who learned that her husband was having an affair and she took him to the cleaners - walked away with EVERYTHING in the divorce - because he had committed adultery.   It makes for a good story, but the reality is less extreme.  

In Texas, we are allowed to divorce at any time without having to prove that one spouse committed fault; this is commonly known as a no fault divorce. You may have heard the term “insupportability” which means that the marriage relationship itself could not be supported, and is a no fault divorce.   

But Texans can also file divorce on fault grounds (such as adultery, or cruelty.)  If a divorce is filed on fault grounds, such as adultery, the innocent spouse can request – and usually will receive – a larger than 50% portion of the community estate.  But not 100% of the community estate; typically a judge will award an additional 5 to 10 percent to the innocent spouse, depending on the facts of the case and the separate property estates of the parties and the needs of the children. 

But never underestimate the power of guilt.  When one spouse gets 70, 80 or even 90% of the community estate, you can bet that the other spouse AGREED to give him/her that extra money or equity, either in mediation or other settlement negotiations.  It is not unusual for the spouse who had the affair to agree to walk away with less than 50%, and they agree to do so in order to avoid the cost of a trial, or because they don’t want to cause their spouse further emotional trauma by dragging out the divorce, or they got some bad legal advice from a non-family lawyer or LegalZoom or a Google search. 

For an in-depth analysis about YOUR unique situation, talk to a family lawyer who practices in your county and has experience with fault grounds and division of community property.

Even knowing how it all went down, it’s still my favorite Valentine’s Day story.   

Call us at 713 227-1717

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