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While adultery is probably the thing that comes to mind most commonly when marital misconduct is mentioned, it is far from the only example of marital misconduct. After all, marital misconduct spans so much more than adultery and infidelity. Legally speaking, marital misconduct refers to any improper act perpetrated by one spouse against the other or against the marriage itself. This means that marital misconduct may include abandonment and drug abuse as well as a conviction of a crime or a failure to support. It may include domestic violence and it may include bigamy. Stated simply, if it undermines the marital relationship, then it may be considered marital misconduct in a court of law. We know that marital misconduct can lead to divorce, but what role does marital misconduct actually play in a divorce, if any?

Marital Misconduct and Divorce

Texas is a no-fault divorce state. In a no-fault divorce state, you do not have to state and prove specific grounds in order to be granted a divorce. All that needs to be said in Texas is that your marriage has become “insupportable because of discord or conflict of personality.” This is a complicated way of saying you want a divorce because you and your spouse no longer get along. Because of no-fault divorce, assertion and proving of marital misconduct is not necessary to get a divorce in Texas. That does not mean, however, that marital misconduct is irrelevant in the divorce proceedings.

Marital misconduct can play an important role in many of the issues central to a divorce. The misdeeds of one spouse can end up costing them greatly during divorce proceedings. This means that marital misconduct can impact decisions relating to division of the marital property, spousal support, and child custody. In looking at these issues, a Texas court is well within its discretion to consider marital misconduct in rendering decisions. Of course, you will need evidence of the marital misconduct for a court to take it into consideration.

For instance, if marital funds were dissipated in furtherance or to support an extramarital affair, a Texas court may compensate the injured spouse for this misuse of marital funds. The court may do so by granting an uneven distribution of marital assets to offset the assets lost by the offending spouse. If the marital misconduct involved dangerous behavior that could negatively impact children either emotionally or physically, such actions could be considered by the court in rendering child custody decisions if it would be in the best interest of the child.

Family Law Attorneys

At Navarrete & Schwartz, our team of skilled divorce attorneys is here to represent your best interests throughout divorce proceedings. We present the strongest case possible as we work tirelessly to advocate on your behalf. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.