Adultery: It’s Not What It Used To Be

Adultery in Texas

One of the most common questions when considering a divorce relate to how courts view adultery in Texas.  The definition of adultery seems easy to understand and is merely common sense.  It would also appear that providing adultery is fairly easy.  However, the truth of the matter is that adultery is far more complicated.

What is Adultery?

The most common assumptions about adultery are generally incorrect.  Adultery in Texas is not actually committed without the act of sexual intercourse.  That means all other types of sexual contact do not qualify as adultery.  One could introduce video evidence of a party having sexual contact with a third person.  But without proof of sexual intercourse, that evidence will fall short of proving adultery.

Does Adultery Mean I’ll Win My Case?

In Texas, most divorces are granted on a “no fault” basis.  However, fault-based divorces remain common.  A divorce based upon adultery is a fault-based divorce.  Providing the court with proof of adultery does not mean that you win everything.  It does, however, provide the court with a legal basis to divide the marital assets and debts disproportionately in favor of the innocent spouse.

Courts rarely see divorce as the basis to change anything.  It appears that adultery has become so common that it no longer merits “punishment.”  Whatever the reason, your success in court depends largely upon your judge’s personal feelings about adultery.  Many of the older generation of judges, and rural county judges, still find adultery worthy of punishment.  However, these are the exception.

How Do You Prove Adultery?

Adultery in Texas is very hard to prove without an admission.  One surprising way I’ve been able to prove adultery recently relates to the Plan B pill.  The wife purchased this pill after an interlude, and evidence was obtained proving the purchase.  The proof?  The husband (a) was travelling internationally when the pill was purchased, and (b) had a vasectomy.

Another way to prove adultery is contacting the sexual partner.  Occasionally, these people become willing witnesses when the relationship sours.

Many people believe that hiring a private investigator to show their spouse spent the night in the same location as a third person proves adultery.  While it may be strong circumstantial evidence, it is not actual evidence of sexual intercourse.

Does Adultery Matter Anymore?

Based upon my experience in the North Texas courts, not really.  There is likely some damage to that parents character if children are involved.  This is especially true if the adultery-committing spouse has exposed the children to the relationship.

If Adultery Doesn’t Matter, Can I Date?

The simple answer is that you can date during a divorce.  It is, however, an extremely bad idea.  First, anyone you date during a divorce could become a witness.  If the relationship ends badly, they could easily become an ally to your spouse.  I have seen this happen many times, and these witnesses can become your worst nightmare.

Second, pregnancy.  No explanation needed really.

Third, any money spent on dating during a divorce could become an issue.  I’ve caught people taking their dates to exotic locations while their divorce is pending.  These folks have an awkward day in court when they realize they have been caught.

The best option is to wait until the divorce is completed before dating.  The potential risk is rarely worth the reward.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation with Dallas Divorce Attorney Gerald Tadlock, contact us by email or call 214-550-1122.