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Will Cheating Affect My Divorce Case?

Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC Dec. 13, 2023

Divorce is often a perplexing and emotionally challenging time. Questions abound, with one of the most common being, "Will cheating affect my divorce case?" This is a multifaceted question that can be influenced by various factors, including state laws and the specific circumstances surrounding the infidelity. 

At Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC, attorney Robin Scott understands the complexities involved in such a situation. She has extensive experience navigating the intricacies of family law, particularly in cases where adultery is a factor. Based in Spring, Texas, she serves clients throughout Harris, Montgomery, and Fort Bend counties. 

Texas Is a Hybrid Divorce State

Texas follows a unique hybrid approach to divorce, where it allows both fault-based and no-fault divorces. In a fault-based divorce, one party must prove that the other spouse engaged in misconduct, such as adultery, to obtain a divorce. Conversely, in a no-fault divorce, grounds such as insupportability or living apart for three years can suffice. This flexibility offers individuals more options when seeking a divorce in Texas. 

How Fault in Texas Addresses Adultery

In cases of fault-based divorce, adultery can significantly influence the proceedings. Adultery in Texas is defined as a spouse voluntarily engaging in a sexual relationship outside their marriage. While Texas recognizes adultery as grounds for divorce, proving it requires substantial evidence, such as photographs, text messages, or witness testimonies. 

Ways That Adultery Might Factor In

The presence of adultery can impact several aspects of a divorce case, including spousal support, asset division, and child custody/support. 

Spousal Support 

In Texas, if the court determines that the adulterous behavior led to the breakdown of the marriage or resulted in the dissipation of marital assets, it may adjust the awarding of spousal support accordingly. 

Dividing Assets 

Adultery can also influence the division of marital assets. If one spouse can prove that the other used marital funds to support their extramarital relationship, this may be factored into the distribution of assets. 

Child Custody/Support

When determining child custody and support, the court always prioritizes the child's best interests. Adultery may be considered if it directly impacts the child's well-being or the parent's ability to provide a stable environment. 

Living With Someone Else While Divorce Is Pending

Choosing to live with a new partner while your divorce is pending can significantly affect the outcome of your divorce case. It's crucial to consider the potential implications of such a decision. Here are some ways it might influence various aspects of your divorce: 

  • Alimony Considerations: Depending on the specific laws in Texas, cohabitating with someone else before the divorce is finalized could potentially influence the court's decision on awarding alimony. If you're receiving financial support from your new partner, the court may view this as a change in your financial needs and adjust alimony accordingly. 

  • Property Division: Moving in with a new partner during the divorce process could be perceived as a misuse of marital property, especially if marital funds are used to support the new living arrangement. This could potentially lead to the court awarding a larger portion of the marital assets to your spouse. 

  • Child Custody: If you have children, living with someone who is unfamiliar to them prior to the divorce being finalized could impact a judge's assessment of their best interests. The court always prioritizes the welfare of the child, and introducing a new person into their living situation could be seen as disruptive or unsettling. 

  • Settlement Agreement: Choosing to live with someone else before the divorce is finalized may create resentment or anger in your spouse. This could make reaching an agreement on other divorce-related issues more challenging, leading to a contested divorce. 

  • Cost of Divorce: Any increase in contention or complexity in your divorce case can result in higher attorney fees and court costs. If your decision to cohabitate leads to more disputes, the overall cost of your divorce could rise significantly. 

  • Adultery Laws: In Texas, living with someone who is not your spouse during a divorce could potentially be considered adultery. Even though Texas is a no-fault state, adultery can still be used as grounds for a fault-based divorce and may impact the outcome in terms of property division and alimony. 

It's vital to consult with an experienced divorce attorney like Robin Scott before making any major decisions during your divorce process. 

Legal Guidance When You Need It Most

Navigating through a divorce is a complex process that requires understanding and managing many moving parts. It's crucial to have an experienced attorney like Robin Scott by your side. Her compassionate approach and dedication to her clients make Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC an ideal partner to guide you through this challenging time. Operating out of Spring, Texas, the firm serves clients in Harris County, Montgomery County, and Fort Bend County. Reach out today for the legal guidance you need during this tough time.