No Alienation of Affection Claims In Texas

Recently there has been quite a bit of media exposure over alienation of affection claims arising out of a North Carolina Court.  Under the case in North Carolina, the mistress who was allegedly responsible for breaking up a 30 year marriage was sued by her lover's ex-wife and awarded $9M in damages!  North Carolina is one of seven states to recognize alienation of affection claims, in which spouses can sue third parties that they allege interfered in their marriages.   Texas, however, does not recognize alienation of affection claims in divorce cases

Although Texas doesn't recognize alienation of affection claims, fault in the break up of the marriage can play a role in dividing the community estate.  For example, adultery is commonly a factor judges consider when making the just and right division of the community estate. 

For a more in depth look at the facts behind the $9M award, click here.

Will it be held against me if I get another woman pregnant before my divorce is final?

I frequently get questions from potential clients about what are the effects of adultery in the outcome of a divorce.  Recently I was asked: "Will it be held against me if I get another woman pregnant before my divorce is final?"  This post will be one of several where I'll answer questions I receive from the trenches.

Texas is a no fault divorce state which essentially means that neither party necessarily has to prove the other did something "wrong" causing the divorce.  However, fault grounds often arise in divorce proceedings and the court will consider them in dividing the community property. The division of property under the Texas Family Code has to be "just and right" - not necessarily a 50/50 split.  A man and wife are still considered married until the court enters a final decree of divorce, therefore getting another woman pregnant before your divorce is final is considered adultery.  So, what is the effect?

The court will take the adultery in consideration when dividing up the community property. Certain counties consider adultery more heavily than others when dividing up the community estate.  Some counties take a "what's the big deal" approach and others are more conservative.  So, if you get another woman pregnant while waiting on your divorce to be final, its possible the court will award a disproportionate share of the community estate to the other spouse (or quite possibly, stick the adulterer with more debt).