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Divorce

adultery

Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse. Adultery is a leading cause of divorce, and in some states may be relevant in determining who was at fault for the breakup of the marriage, and whether the innocent spouse is entitled to an unequal division of the assets.

In Texas, adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. It is considered a fault ground for divorce under Texas law. When a spouse files for divorce on the grounds of adultery, they must prove the infidelity to the court. Adultery can impact the outcome of divorce proceedings, particularly in the division of marital property and the determination of spousal support. Texas is a community property state, which typically means that assets acquired during the marriage are divided equally. However, if adultery is proven, the court may award a disproportionate share of the community estate to the innocent spouse. Additionally, adultery may affect custody and visitation rights if it is shown to have a negative impact on the children. It's important to note that while adultery can influence the financial and custodial aspects of a divorce, it is not a criminal offense in Texas.


Texas Statutes & Rules

Texas Family Code - Section 6.003. Adultery
This statute is relevant because it establishes adultery as a legal ground for divorce in the state of Texas.

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.

Texas Family Code - Section 7.001. General Rule for Division of Property
This statute is relevant as it pertains to the division of property upon divorce, which can be influenced by a finding of 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.

Texas Family Code - Section 7.002. Division and Disposition of Property Under Special Circumstances
This statute is relevant because it addresses how the court may handle property division when special circumstances, such as adultery, are present.

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.

Federal Statutes & Rules

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) - Article 134, Adultery
While adultery is not a federal crime for civilians, it is considered an offense for military personnel under the UCMJ.

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.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C (Partially Invalidated)
Although not directly related to adultery, DOMA defined marriage at the federal level, which could indirectly affect how adultery is perceived in the context of federal benefits and legal proceedings.

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.