Although Texas courts have long held that adultery is one of the grounds for divorce, it is less frequently used since Texas became a “no-fault” divorce state in 1970. Nevertheless, it is frequently asserted as an additional ground for divorce which allows a judge to grant a divorce based on finding that one party has committed adultery rather than the judge finding that no one is at fault and instead finding that the marriage has become unsupportable and irreconcilable, hence “no-fault.”
This distinction is important since adultery can have an impact on property division in a Texas divorce. Specifically, the court can make a disproportionate division if it believes that one side was more to blame for the divorce than the other party. Additionally, a finding of adultery may impact whether a spouse is eligible for spousal maintenance. But, the actual impact on property division is fact-specific and is left to the discretion of the judge. Some judges consider adultery to be a significant factor to consider and others consider adultery to be merely the outward sign of an already unhealthy marriage.
Even though adultery can impact the court’s decision on property division, generally it has little or no impact on custody or access issues because those issues as determined by the principle of “best interests of the children.” So, unless adultery is in some way directly harmful to the children, it is usually a non-issue in determining custody or access.
If adultery might be a factor in your divorce, consider seeking the advice of an attorney who specializes in family law to assist you in understanding both the legal and practical implications of adultery in a Texas divorce.