In the average Texas divorce, the courts don’t pay much attention to allegations of infidelity unless the couple has a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with clauses that address that specific issue. Marital misconduct should not factor into how the courts divide your assets or how they allocate parenting time.
However, for military service members, adultery is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). That means that allegations of adultery that surface during your military divorce proceedings could result in a court-martial or similar disciplinary measures that could have a long-term impact on your career trajectory and on the divorce proceedings as well.
How does the military define adultery?
The UCMJ used to have a very restrictive definition of adultery, defining it only as vaginal, heterosexual intercourse. However, in 2019, new changes to the code expanded the formal definition of adultery, which could leave many more people vulnerable to court-martial as a result.
Both anal and oral sex now constitute adultery, as do same-sex sexual encounters. That means that many more people could find that they are at risk of disciplinary action for decisions made in their personal lives. While civilian courts rarely hear cases about adultery, even in states where it is still illegal, the military courts can and do penalize service members who engage in extramarital affairs while playing an active role in the military.
Still, the updates to the UCMJ weren’t all negative. The changes in the code did create new exceptions to the adultery rules, including an exception for those who begin a new intimate relationship after formally separating but prior to actually divorcing.
The consequences of adultery could impact your future for many years
Disciplinary action stemming from marital infidelity in the military could include up to a year of incarceration or even a dishonorable discharge that could permanently influence your ability to secure gainful employment in the future. Under Article 134 of the UCMJ, the military courts have a lot of discretion in how they punish someone conducting an affair.
Allegations of infidelity leading to divorce in Texas could hurt your career and your earning potential. While the Texas family courts won’t financially penalize you for adultery, you could still experience financial and career hardship in the future if you get convicted of adultery by a military court, especially if your penalties include a dishonorable discharge or a forfeiture of your pay or housing allowances.
Negotiating some kind of compensation for your spouse and filing an uncontested divorce may be one of the best options available to a military service member accused of adultery and facing divorce as a consequence of that extramarital affair. Uncontested allegations made during a divorce could otherwise have an impact on your career and a ripple effect on the rest of your life.