Infidelity or Adultery in a Texas Divorce

In Texas, adultery or infidelity may play a significant role in how a divorce unfolds, impacting asset division in a divorce and even custody issues to a certain extent. Here’s how adultery generally affects the divorce process in Texas:

1. Grounds for Divorce:

  • No-Fault Divorce: Texas allows for “no-fault” divorces, where neither spouse has to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Commonly, the reason cited is “insupportability,” which means that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
  • Fault-Based Divorce: Adultery is also one of the grounds for a fault-based divorce in Texas. If one spouse can prove the other’s infidelity, it can influence the divorce proceedings, particularly in financial settlements and custody decisions. The Court of Appeals has given the following definition of Adultery: “the voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the spouse.” In re S.A.A., 279 S.W.3d 853, 856 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2009, no pet.)

2. Impact on Division of Assets:

  • In Texas, the court divides marital property based on what is “just and right.” While this typically starts with the presumption of a 50/50 split, proven adultery can lead the court to award a more favorable division to the non-adulterous spouse. This is because the court may consider the circumstances and factors under which the property was acquired and the behavior of the parties during the marriage. Such factors include: Such factors include (1) the nature of the marital property, (2) the relative earning capacity and business opportunities of the parties, (3) the parties’ relative financial condition and obligations, (4) the parties’ education, (5) the size of separate estates, (6) the age, (7) health, and (8) physical conditions of the parties, (9) fault in breaking up the marriage, (10) the benefit the innocent spouse would have received had the marriage continued, and (11) the probable need for future support. Murff v. Murff, 615 S.W.2d 696, 698 (Tex. 1981).

3. Impact on Child Custody and Visitation:

  • While adultery by itself does not necessarily impact custody arrangements, the circumstances surrounding the adultery might. For instance, if adulterous behavior also involved other conduct that could be deemed harmful to the children it could influence the court’s decisions regarding custody and visitation rights. More common repercussions for Adultery or Infidelity in a divorce are what the Court’s call a  “morality clause”. This provision usually prohibits one parent from having a romantic third-party guest stay in the house while the children are present from 8:00 pm to 9:00 am the next day.

4. Proving Adultery:

  • Proving adultery in a divorce case requires evidence that convinces the court of the likelihood that infidelity occurred. Direct evidence is not necessarily required; circumstantial evidence that suggests the likelihood of both opportunity and inclination to commit adultery might suffice. The burden of proof is the preponderance of the evidence, thus just a little more than 50%. It should be known that actions of adultery and infidelity are still probably even after separation and during the divorce litigation. 

Adultery and Infidelity are not as damaging in the modern era, though it is completely fact intensive and dependent on the Judge in your case. Some Judges take Adultery in a Texas Divorce more seriously than others. It is a liability to mitigate if it has occurred. 

Julian Nacol
Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Dallas Divorce Attorney
(972) 690-3333


8144 Walnut Hill Lane
Suite 1190
Dallas, Texas 75231
Office Hours
Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm
Friday, 8:30am – 5pm




Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

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