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Ask a Divorce Attorney: Can an Affair Change How Property Gets Divided in a Divorce?

Divorce proceedings are difficult enough before you factor in infidelity. This act may impact the division of property during your divorce proceedings. The best divorce attorney Houston, TX has to offer can tell you about this in detail. Your lawyers can advise on your individual case during your consultation, but we’ll talk about how infidelity can sometimes impact your divorce in the article below.

Ask a Divorce Attorney: How Does An Affair Impact Property Division?

How Does Property Division Generally Go?

In Texas, property and assets are split equitably. This means the property is split fairly, but it’s not always equal. The court tries to split assets 50/50, but that’s not always what happens. Two-thirds of assets may go to the spouse with the most income. The remaining third will go to the lower-earning spouse. This is because the higher-earning spouse likely paid more for property and assets during the marriage.

If you work with a top divorce lawyer in Houston, then they can go over the specifics of which spouse is most likely to get most of your property and assets during your divorce.

When Can Infidelity Impact Property Division During a Divorce?

The court will often give an additional percentage of your property to the spouse who has been cheated on. This varies on a case-by-case basis, and you have to prove that your spouse was cheating, too. Phone records, text messages, photos, videos, and more can be used to make a case that your spouse was unfaithful during your marriage.

Can I Win More of Our Assets or Funds During a Divorce if My Spouse Was Cheating?

Infidelity can also impact the division of property and assets in a divorce under another circumstance: there must be substantial evidence to show that the spouse who had an affair spent a large portion of the household income on the person with whom they were cheating. This includes going on vacations with their affair partner, buying them expensive gifts, paying their bills, and other similarly expensive acts.

An attorney can point out numerous instances that may impact property division during a divorce. These instances are known as dissipation.

What Is Dissipation According to Family Law Attorneys

Dissipation is the word used to describe your former partner spending funds on the person they were having an affair with. However, proving dissipation is often tedious, incredibly time-consuming, expensive, and difficult. In fact, the funds your partner spends on their affair partner are usually so minimal that most firms will tell you it’s not worth pursuing.

Most of the time the funds your spouse spends on their affair will simply be hotel rooms, small gifts, and dinners. However, if you find that your spouse frequently took their affair partner on expensive vacations, paid their bills for them, and bought them many expensive gifts, then it may just be worth your time attempting to prove dissipation.

Can I Request My Spouse Gets Less Property and Assets Than I Do?

Your lawyer can fight for you to get more property than your spouse. However, as Texas is an equitable distribution state, you won’t always get your wish. It’s up to the court to divide your property.

You can also speak to your partner about the division of property and assets. If you come to an agreement on your own, then the courts will divide your property accordingly. However, it is highly unlikely that your partner will agree to take a smaller share of the property unless they feel very guilty about what they’ve done.

Do I Have To Go to Trial to Settle Property Division?

Divorce hearings don’t always have to go to trial, and this includes when you’re discussing property division. Divorce trials can be expensive and time-consuming, so it’s best to avoid them if you can. However, if your spouse contests a request you make dealing with property division, then you may go to court for your divorce hearing.

Generally, many divorces can be handled outside of the courtroom with the help of your attorneys, although adultery may complicate things so you and your spouse may be more likely to contest each other’s requests. Working with an experienced attorney may help you make discussions a little more civil and easier to get through without going to trial.

Do I Have To Go to Trial To Prove Adultery?

Thankfully, you don’t have to go to trial to prove adultery in a divorce, but you do need to show evidence of the infidelity when you’re filing for a divorce on these grounds. Phone records and text messages are usually the best evidence you can have in a fault-based divorce case caused by infidelity.

Affairs can cause a messy and complicated divorce, and oftentimes the court will award a higher share of marital property in favor of the non-cheating spouse. You can also discuss dissipation if it’s relevant and provable in your case. Your attorney can advise you further on this as you get deeper into your case together.

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