Adultery happens. In fact, marital experts estimate that around 20% of husbands and 13% of wives have been unfaithful at some point in their marriage.
Fortunately, most marriages don’t end because of adultery. Instead, adultery often occurs after other problems have eaten away at the foundation of trust and affection that once underpinned a healthy marriage. Many couples can survive adultery—if they believe the marriage is worth saving.
If you are divorcing, you might wonder what effect your spouse’s cheating will have. Actually, infidelity plays very little role in Colorado divorces.
Adultery is Not a Ground for Divorce in Colorado
Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. This means that a judge will grant a divorce if one spouse can show the marriage has “irretrievably broken down.” The reason for the breakdown is really irrelevant, so it doesn’t matter if your spouse has been cheating. Usually, a desire by one spouse to divorce is enough to show that a marriage cannot be salvaged.
Adultery Rarely Matters for Alimony or Property Division
Judges usually award alimony for a limited amount of time or for a limited purpose, such as getting an education. In rarer cases, a judge can award alimony for long-term, such as after a very long marriage.
Many people want a judge to “punish” their spouse for cheating and hope to get alimony by flagging the adultery for the judge’s attention. But the laws in Colorado aren’t really set up that way. And the purpose of alimony isn’t to punish, in any event.
Infidelity might matter in one narrow situation: your spouse has wasted marital assets on a paramour. In this case, a judge might consider not so much the adultery but the economic effects of this relationship when deciding alimony or the division of marital property.
Infidelity Rarely Impacts Child Custody
Certainly, we can’t say that infidelity “never” matters in child custody disputes. But it is likewise wrong to say that if you have been unfaithful, you’ll lose custody. Judges typically only pay attention if an adulterous relationship somehow poses a threat of harm to the children. For example, a new boyfriend might have a criminal record as long as his leg and currently be living with you, in which case a judge might feel less inclined to award you custody.
Contact Divorce Matters
Adultery may be morally wrong, but it is of little legal significance in a Colorado divorce. To discuss your case, and whether you can get the divorce you want, please contact a Denver division of marital property & assets lawyer today.