In Texas, adultery is recognized as a fault ground for divorce. The statute defines adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the spouse. If the court finds that adultery has been committed, this can affect the division of the marital estate. The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.
The Texas Family Code stipulates that in a divorce, the court shall divide the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party. While Texas is a community property state, meaning that most property acquired during the marriage is considered jointly owned, the presence of fault grounds such as adultery can lead to an unequal division favoring the innocent spouse.
This section of the Texas Family Code allows the court to consider the circumstances of the spouses when dividing property. This includes fault in the breakup of the marriage, such as adultery, which can result in a disproportionate award of the marital estate to the innocent spouse. The court has the discretion to consider the nature of the marital misconduct and its impact on the financial position of the spouses when dividing assets.
Article 134 of the UCMJ criminalizes adultery among members of the military. The statute defines adultery as sexual intercourse between a military member and a person who is not their spouse when the conduct has a negative impact on the discipline or good order in the armed forces, or when it brings discredit upon the armed forces. The accused must be married at the time, and the conduct must be directly prejudicial to good order and discipline or service discrediting. Penalties for a conviction can include dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and confinement.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a federal law that defined marriage for federal purposes as the union between one man and one woman, and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states. However, the key provisions of DOMA were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor in 2013. This decision invalidated Section 3 of DOMA, which had defined marriage for federal purposes, thus allowing legally married same-sex couples to receive federal benefits. Section 2, which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, has not been challenged; however, it has been effectively overridden by the subsequent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.