Dealing with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the context of divorce can be a sensitive situation.
Providing Grounds for the Divorce
While Texas is a no-fault state, meaning that you can file for divorce without having to show wrongdoing on the part of either spouse, you can also file for divorce with cause if circumstances show there has been fault. If your spouse has knowingly given you an STD, you may be able to file on grounds of cruelty and adultery. Cruelty is when one spouse acts in a way that causes physical or mental harm to the other, and adultery is when a person has sexual contact with someone not their spouse. If you do not litigate this during the divorce you will not be able to do so later, so if it is a concern be sure to talk to your attorney.
Possible Effects on the Settlement
The court may take knowingly passing on an STD as a tort based on the principals of battery, fraud, or negligence. This may mean the infected spouse has to pay for medical expenses, attorney costs, pain and suffering, or punitive damages. The court may also see it as a reason to give the injured spouse an otherwise disproportionate share of property when dividing it. For this to apply, you need to be able to prove that your spouse knew he or she had the STD and gave it to you without any attempt at giving a warning prior to intercourse. If he or she pleads they didn’t know either, then your attorney must be able to prove otherwise.
To discuss how this might relate to your divorce with trained, compassionate professionals, contact Springer & Lyle today.