Infidelity is more common than many might think. According to PsychCentral, a Health Testing Centers poll from 2021 found that over 46% of individuals in a monogamous relationship admitted to cheating on their partners.
It is also the reason behind many couples’ divorces. A common question in such cases is whether or not the cheating spouse’s actions affect the distribution of property.
Texas follows the principle of equitable division
Texas is a community property state, meaning judges do not simply divide a couple’s assets in half. Instead, they consider many factors to determine what constitutes a just division. Property either falls into the separate or the marital property category. The former includes assets owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and gifts or inheritances given solely to one spouse. Judges do not look at this property since it stays with the original owner.
Marital property includes any possessions or funds acquired after the couple married. It also includes any property that became mingled. For example, if a person owns a house and puts his or her spouse’s name on it, it becomes marital property.
Adultery can have an effect on the division
It is not the determining factor, but judges can consider behaviors like cheating during property distribution. They are more likely to consider it more seriously when the individual who cheated used marital assets to fund the affair. Adultery may also affect the awarding of alimony.
One spouse cheating does not automatically guarantee that the other spouse receives everything in a divorce. However, it can play a role in the judge’s final decision since he or she may include it in the assessment of what constitutes a fair split.