Many people who find out that their spouse was cheating want a divorce. If you are divorcing a cheating spouse, you are probably wondering, Does adultery affect child custody in Texas?
Here, we will discuss what you need to know about adultery and child custody.
Short answer: Adultery does not usually affect child custody in Texas. Texas courts decide on custody arrangements based on the child’s best interests.
How Judges Handle Adultery and Child Custody
Courts usually focus on each spouse’s parenting abilities when determining child custody. This means that adultery does not typically affect a custody decision. However, in some situations, a judge may decide that the affair indicates a spouse’s poor judgment and questionable parenting ability. One such instance is if one spouse had an affair and intentionally exposed the children to the affair in a way that was shown to be harmful to the children. A judge may consider these types of facts in making child custody determinations, such as when children can be confused, distressed, or angry about the affair.
In addition, if the person with whom the spouse is having an affair is abusive or cruel to the children, this could affect child custody. A judge may be less likely to grant custody to a parent who allowed an abusive affair partner to have contact with the children.
What Is Adultery?
In Texas, adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse with a person besides your spouse.
In Texas, adultery is one cause for a fault divorce. Unless your spouse admits to adultery, you will have to offer proof to a court showing that they are at fault for the breakdown of the marriage because they had an affair. You do not have to prove that sexual intercourse occurred. You can use circumstantial evidence showing that an affair most likely took place. Circumstantial evidence can include:
- Text messages or emails that indicate an affair;
- Pictures or videos;
- Bank records or credit card statements; and
- Eyewitness accounts.
An experienced divorce attorney will be able to help you gather the evidence you need to prove adultery.
Adultery and Divorce
While adultery affects child custody only in specific situations, it impacts other aspects of divorce. If you are getting divorced on the grounds of adultery in Texas, you will have to present evidence to prove your claim. If you successfully prove adultery, it can affect divorce issues such as property division.
In Texas, one spouse can qualify for alimony under specific circumstances, which is termed temporary spousal support in Texas. These circumstances involve the inability of the spouse receiving alimony to make enough money to support themselves. Once the judge decides that one spouse qualifies to receive alimony, they decide the amount of the alimony and the duration of payments based on a number of factors.
Texas courts can award a smaller share of marital property to a spouse that committed adultery. This is especially true if there is evidence that this spouse was spending money on the extramarital affair.
How a Child Custody Attorney Can Help
An experienced child custody attorney can help you divorce a spouse who committed adultery. If your partner’s affair had an impact on your children, an experienced attorney will help you make your case to the judge. A divorce attorney can also help you prove that adultery occurred by compiling strong evidence. Hiring a divorce attorney is a good idea if your spouse cheated and you want a divorce. Even if the affair does not affect child custody, you may be able to get more of the marital property.
Ask Us Any Questions You May Have
The Larson Law Office is ready to discuss how adultery can impact your divorce. We are committed to providing personalized service, so you know that every step of your case will be handled by an attorney. With over a decade of experience serving family law clients in Texas, the husband and wife team at the Larson Law Office can answer all of your adultery and child custody questions. Contact our office today.