If you are at the point where you are asking, Is adultery illegal in Texas? you are likely already experiencing marital discontent.
Though adultery is not illegal in Texas, it can impact divorce settlements. There are 21 states where adultery qualifies as a misdemeanor.
Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with another person who is not the spouse.
Adultery Laws in Texas
According to Texas Family Code section 6.003, “The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.” Texas is a community property state, which means that in the course of divorce proceedings, each spouse is generally granted 50% of the jointly held assets.
In conjunction with community property standards, Texas is also a “just and right equitable division” state. This means that the court has the ability to divide assets based on additional factors such as the reason for divorce. Texas does not recognize legal separation.
How Does Texas Adultery Law Impact Divorce?
The court can and usually will give an additional percentage of marital property to the non-cheating spouse. The amount is often most significant if the cheating spouse used community funds to perpetuate the affair and if the affair was the primary reason for the divorce. The two areas Texas laws on adultery do not impact include:
- Making a spouse eligible for alimony, and
- Changing child custody and child support rulings.
Being unfaithful may not correspond with being a bad parent, even if it is a less than optimal example. Exceptions include when the cheating spouse dates someone who has a history of violence, committing sex offenses, or anything else that could be considered dangerous for a child to be around.
Proving Adultery in Texas
The judge is not going to just trust your word that your spouse was cheating, and evidence of infidelity is not always easy to acquire. When considering bringing evidence of adultery against your spouse, you may want to consult an attorney to ensure you are within the proper rules for evidence. Reasonable evidence may include:
- Phone records,
- Bank statements,
- Credit card statements,
- Text messages,
- Photos, and
This evidence must make it reasonably clear that the spouse was engaging in sexual intercourse outside of the marriage. Some people may consider hiring a private investigator to obtain this information.
You may first want to discuss your case with a Texas divorce attorney to estimate the impact adulterous implications could have on your divorce. In some cases, the cost of a private investigator may be higher than the extra percentage of community property you would stand to receive.
Texas Divorce Attorneys
If you suspect your spouse is being unfaithful and are considering a divorce, you should speak to an experienced Texas divorce attorney who understands how much infidelity could impact your case.
The Larson Law Office strives to provide personalized service to each individual client. Divorces are difficult and emotional. You need a compassionate advisor who can help you come up with the best strategy to receive the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for your complimentary evaluation.