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What is Marital Misconduct and How Can it Impact a Texas Divorce?

 Posted on May 09, 2024 in Divorce

Hurst, TX divorce lawyerTexas is a no-fault divorce state. This means that a couple who wants to get divorced does not need to provide grounds for why the spouses want to end the marriage.

That does not mean, however, that a party cannot be blamed for the divorce. If a spouse can prove in court that the marriage broke down because of the other spouse’s marital misconduct, or actionable misbehavior, it can affect how the judge rules on certain issues such as:

  • Alimony

  • Child support

  • Division of assets

If you feel your spouse is guilty of marital misconduct, contact a qualified Texas divorce attorney who can assess if and how this can be used to your advantage in court.

What Is Marital Misconduct?

Marital misconduct means that a spouse behaves in a way that endangers the marriage and/or the spouse. It is behavior that is contrary to the basic obligations and expectations in a marriage.

There are several examples of marital misconduct, not all of which are crimes. 


Adultery is the most common type of marital misconduct that causes marriages to break down. While cheating on your spouse is not illegal, it is considered a civil violation in Texas. Therefore, if a Texas court feels that infidelity by one of the spouses triggered the divorce, it is likely to cost the offending spouse.


In addition to adultery, Texas law considers “cruel treatment” to be marital misconduct. This includes all forms of abuse, such as:

  • Physical abuse, or domestic violence

  • Sexual abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Verbal abuse

  • Child abuse

Financial Misuse

Another type of marital misconduct is misuse of marital money, referred to by Texas law as “community property.” A spouse who spends joint funds on a gambling addiction, for instance, would be guilty of marital misconduct. The same can be said of someone who uses funds belonging to both spouses to satisfy a drug addiction or any other frivolous debts. 

Other kinds of financial mismanagement include hiding money or assets from the other spouse or stealing property belonging to both spouses or the spouses’ children. Lying about employment status or income to avoid paying more spousal or child support is also considered marital misconduct.

Lack of Intimacy

If a divorce was caused by one spouse being unwilling or unable to engage in sexual relations, that can be viewed by a court as marital misconduct.

How Does Marital Misconduct Impact a Divorce?

When it comes to child support and spousal support — otherwise known as maintenance — courts look at several elements before deciding who must pay and how much. Factors like income, child custody, and the needs of all parties are taken into account. Texas law also considers whether a spouse is guilty of marital misconduct. A court may force that spouse to pay maintenance or more maintenance than he or she would have been required to.

Furthermore, while community property is by default split 50/50 between the spouses, factors like marital misconduct can cause a court to award the majority of the marital assets to the spouse who did not commit the marital misconduct.

Contact a Tarrant County, TX Divorce Attorney

Marital misconduct can significantly sway a divorce proceeding in favor of the affected spouse. But marital misconduct is not always easy to prove and a court does not have to penalize it. That is why having an aggressive Hurst, Texas divorce lawyer in your corner can work to your advantage. Daniel Bacalis is a board-certified family law specialist and is skilled in divorces involving marital misconduct. Call Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. at 817-498-4105 for a free consultation today.

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