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How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce in Colorado?

Updated: 10/28/2022

Est. Reading: 5 minutes

Adultery is often seen as one of the most damaging factors in a marriage and can have severe consequences in the event of a divorce. This is because, in the state of Colorado, adultery can be considered a fault-based ground for divorce. This means that if one spouse can prove that the other engaged in extra-marital affairs, the court may consider this when deciding on factors such as alimony and child custody.

So, it is extremely necessary you understand how adultery can impact divorce in Colorado. This would help you to make educated decisions and protect yourself in the event of a divorce.

First, let's define what exactly constitutes adultery in Colorado. Adultery is defined as sexual activity that is voluntarily engaged in by a married person with another person other than their spouse. It does not matter if the couple is separated or living together at the time of the affair – it can still be considered adultery; as such, one of the legitimate reasons for divorce.

However, it is worth noting that in Colorado, just because one spouse cheated doesn’t mean they automatically lose all rights in a divorce. This is often a common misconception. Rather, the court will take a number of factors into consideration, including the length of the marriage and economic circumstances.

How No-Fault Divorce Laws Work

In Colorado, married couples can file for a “fault” or a “no-fault” divorce. A fault divorce means that one spouse is claiming the other spouse did something to cause the marriage to fail, such as adultery. However, even if a spouse can prove their partner committed adultery, it typically doesn’t impact the divorce proceedings much. On the other hand, a no-fault divorce simply states that the marriage is irretrievably broken and neither spouse is at fault.

In a no-fault divorce state, the court won’t consider evidence or allegations of adultery when making decisions about child custody, alimony, and property division. In fact, even if one spouse cheated, they may still receive an equal share of marital property, alimony, and be granted joint custody of the children. However, if a spouse can prove their partner committed adultery and it negatively affected their ability to support themselves financially (such as having to quit a job to care for children), they may be able to receive more spousal support.

Can Adultery Affect Alimony?

Alimony is a term that is commonly used as a form of monetary support that is given by one spouse to the other spouse during or after the dissolution of their marriage. It often includes things like monthly payments, covering mortgage or rent, and paying for healthcare expenses.

In Colorado, the court considers a number of factors when calculating alimony including potential income or annual income, age, physical health, financial resources, emotional health, and length of the marriage. Adultery can also play a role in the court’s decision – if one spouse wasted marital funds on an extra-marital affair, the court may factor this into their decision on alimony.

Additionally, a judge may consider a spouse’s behavior, including committing adultery, when determining the length and amount of alimony to be paid. For example, if a spouse’s cheating caused emotional distress and financial harm to their partner, the court may award longer or higher alimony payments. It’s important to note that while adultery can potentially have a negative impact on these aspects of a divorce, the court will ultimately consider a variety of factors and make decisions based on what is fair and just.

a woman removing her wedding ring

Can Cheating Affect Child Custody?

In Colorado, proving adultery can have an impact on child custody and parenting time in the child custody proceedings. The courts use a “best interests of the child” standard when determining custody and parenting time, and if a spouse’s behavior (such as committing adultery, domestic violence, or child abuse) negatively impacts their ability to care for the child, it could affect the court’s decision.

In other words, if a cheating spouse’s actions put the children in danger or had a negative effect on their well-being, such as exposing them to inappropriate behavior or causing emotional harm, the court may limit that parent’s time with the children. This could include situations where a cheating spouse introduces the child to their lover, or if they were neglectful of the child while engaging in an affair.

However, it’s important to remember that just because a spouse cheated doesn’t automatically mean they’ll lose custody of their children. The court will consider all relevant factors and make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the child. Usually, the court will only consider a spouse’s behavior if it directly affects the child or their ability to parent effectively.

Does Adultery Affect How Property is Divided?

Adultery can also play a role in the division of marital assets. In some cases, a cheating spouse may be ordered to give up a portion of their separate property as compensation for their actions.

As highlighted, Colorado is a no-fault state as far as divorce is concerned. This means that the reason for the divorce doesn’t have to be proven in court. However, a spouse can still use adultery as one of the legitimate grounds for divorce. Where this happens, the property or asset division may be affected, as the court may consider the cheating spouse’s behavior when determining how to divide the marital assets fairly.

In some other instances, such as if the cheating spouse used marital funds to conduct their affair, the courts may order them to financially compensate their partner for any financial losses.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that each divorce case is unique and the outcome will depend on a variety of factors. As it concerns the division of property, a judge’s decision will eventually be reached based on all relevant factors, including the adulterous spouse’s behavior and its impact on the marriage.

Get Help With Your Divorce Today

Divorce may be a challenging and stressful process, particularly if adultery is involved. Therefore, it is important to have the guidance and support of Colorado Springs divorce attorneys who can protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.

If you’re facing a divorce in Colorado and have questions about how adultery may affect the outcome, contact our family law attorneys. We’re dedicated to providing personalized and compassionate representation to our clients and can assist you throughout every step of the divorce process to achieve the best outcome. Schedule a call with us at (719) 625-8886.

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Contacting The Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson & Associates, P.C., for a telephone consultation or by e-mail for general information regarding your situation, is not intended to and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship pursuant to Colorado law. The information contained herein, is for general knowledge and should not be relied upon nor taken as legal assistance or advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney client relationship.
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