Adultery Results in 81% Property Award

Let me begin by being as clear as possible. In the eyes of the law it is not acceptable for either you or your spouse in a pending Woodlands divorce case to engage in adultery. If you choose to disregard that statement you do so at your own peril. In a recent Court of Appeals case the Husband chose to have a girlfriend and commit adultery before his divorce was final. The judge took that fact into consideration when he awarded his Wife 81% of the marital assets.

In this case the Wife separated from her Husband in March and moved out. After she moved out, she asked her husband to participate in counseling with a hope of reconciliation. Her Husband did not participate in the counseling and she subsequently filed for Divorce in August.

The Wife began to suspect her Husband was having an affair in June before she filed for divorce but she did not have much evidence until September. After she had already filed for divorce the Wife discovered women’s underwear and a suitcase in the master bedroom of the marital home. She also hired an investigator who filmed the Husband hugging and kissing the other woman also in September. It is important to note that although she had her suspicions before filing for divorce, the Wife did not obtain any convincing proof of adultery until after she had already filed for divorce.

The Court found Husband was at fault in the breakup of the marriage based on the adultery described above and proceeded to award the Wife an amazing 81% of the marital assets. From a marital estate of $1,646,683.10 the Wife was awarded $1,334,958.10 and the Husband who committed adultery was awarded $311,735.00. As you can see, adultery can be a costly proposition and I wonder if the Husband would do it again if he knew then what he knows now. That is why I am telling you about this case, so you do not make the same horrible mistake that he did.

As I’ve discussed before when we talk about community property, you are still married until the divorce is final. Texas is not a state where once you file for divorce each of you live your own lives. That doesn’t happen until the day the judge signs the divorce order. So for those of you who do not already know, adultery is one of the grounds in a Woodlands divorce for a disproportionate award of property. And if you need to know the legal definition of adultery, here it is: “voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the spouse.”

One final note about this case, the Wife’s legal fees were over $164,000 and the Husband’s legal fees were approximately $130,000. That is over 15% of the marital assets lost to legal fees when most of that money could have been divided between the Husband and Wife it belonged to instead of the attorneys. If you want to avoid the sometimes outrageous costs of litigation, consider a Collaborative Divorce and move forward with your life instead of fighting old (and expensive) battles.

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