The Texas Legislature convenes every two years, with 2019 being one of those. Each session, proposed new laws get introduced that will affect family law in Texas. It is expected that a bill will be introduced to remove no fault divorce and require proof of fault grounds for all Texas divorce and extend the waiting period to finalize a divorce (currently 60 days). Neither of these proposals are expected to gain much traction. Reform of the child protective services system will, however, be a hot topic for the legislative session given all of the litigation there has been criticizing how CPS handles matters ineffectively.
A client recently asked about divorcing her husband who was pending felony criminal charges. Texas is generally a no-fault divorce state. This means that one spouse may seek and be granted a divorce based solely on the irreparable breakdown in the marriage relationship without showing anything else. However, Texas allows for a fault-based divorce decreed…
Happy International Women’s Day!
Of the many big and small inequalities, we cannot overlook the right of a woman to end a difficult marriage. While divorce may be common place and social acceptable for women today, it has not been that way in history.
Throughout modern time, divorce could only be granted if one spouse…
A state legislator from Fort Worth wants to make it harder to get a divorce in Texas. Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, has filed a bill for the legislative session starting in January, proposing to require a party to state a fault reason for divorce or to remain separated for at least three years before…
This is another in my Super Simple FAQs series…
What is adultery in Texas?
Adultery is a legal term in Texas that means the voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the spouse. Texas Family Code § 6.003. Adultery does not have to…
As divorce attorneys in the Dallas area, we are unfortunately familiar with the harsh reality of domestic violence.
Continue Reading Dallas Mayor’s Rally Against Domestic Violence This Saturday
What is “insupportabilty”? We often encounter this question from new or prospective clients. According to the Texas Family Code: “the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Tex. Fam. Code §6.001. But what does this really mean?
Continue Reading Insupportability deciphered: the plain English of “no fault” divorce 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.
Continue Reading No Alienation of Affection Claims In Texas
While it doesn’t make the late night talk shows or celebrity gossip sites, texting frequently leads to big trouble for people who are not Tiger Woods. A text message with a paramour can reveal an extramarital affair to the unsuspecting spouse who accidently comes across it, or confirm the suspicions of a suspecting spouse who looks through their cheating spouse’s phone. After a divorce is filed, text messages provide powerful and often embarrassing evidence of infidelity by the cheating spouse during the marriage.
Continue Reading A Divorce Lawyer’s Take on Tiger’s Texting Troubles
Infidelity is a frequent topic brought up by our clients. Texas is a no-fault divorce state which means if a spouse wants a divorce, the other spouse is not required to have committed a "bad act." See Tex. Fam. Code Sect. 6.002-.007. Lately there have been several public figures that have revealed their extramarital affairs. Coupling this with the frequency adultery is brought up by our clients, a primer on adultery as a ground for divorce is appropriate.
Under Section 6.003 of the Texas Family Code, adultery is a ground for divorce. As a Dallas divorce lawyer, my experience is that adultery usually is not the cause of divorce. Although infidelity is is commonly reported as a cause of divorce, several studies show that the majority of couples who discover infidelity remain married to the unfaithful spouse for several years following their discovery. Additional studies at the University of Washington and University of North Carolina report that occurrences of adultery are declining and that the strongest risk factor for adultery is one occurring outside of the marital relationship – opportunity.
Under the adultery fault ground found in the Texas Family Code, one spouse is required to show that the other engaged in sexual intercourse with one not their husband or wife. Without diving into semantics, Texas courts take a literal approach in construing the term intercourse. As a result, proving adultery is very difficult to do.
Assuming a party to a divorce is able to prove adultery occurred, courts take different approaches in deciding what impact that conduct will have in dividing the marital estate. It comes as a shock to most people that a lot of courts take a "so what" approach – meaning adultery has little, if any, impact on the remainder of the divorce proceeding. This is especially true if the couple’s status quo prior to filing for divorce was one of marital discord. Courts do, however, examine adulterous conduct very closely when it was committed in front of children of the marriage; the timing of the affair prior to filing for divorce; and where the adulterous conduct occurred. The minority of courts consider adultery an atrocious act, hate what it does to the marriage relationship, and divide the marital estate disproportionately as a result.
Although a fault ground for divorce, adultery is also an act of betrayal against your spouse. Committing adultery causes an untold pain which rapidly turns into anger. This anger will cause the innocent spouse to inflict the most amount of pain and burden on the other spouse during the divorce proceeding.
If you suspect that your spouse is having an affair, and you are considering ending the marriage, you should understand that proving adultery is very difficult, and if the offensive conduct did not occur in front of the children of marriage, adultery generally does not cause a court to deviate a significant amount from a 50/50 split of the community property. Finally, remember that you do not have to navigate the divorce process on your own. Contact a competent Dallas divorce attorney to help guide you through the maze.