Marital infidelity is one of the most common causes of divorce. A study cited by the American Psychological Association (APA) estimates cheating is a significant contributing factor to as many as 40% of U.S. divorces. This raises an important question: Does it matter in my divorce case if my spouse cheated? In Colorado, the answer is generally “no”—though there are some limited exceptions. Within this article, our Broomfield divorce lawyer explains the key things to know about marital infidelity and the divorce laws in Colorado.
Background: Colorado is a No-Fault Divorce State
Fault is not an issue in divorce in Colorado. Under C.R.S, § 14-10-110, a couple can get divorced on the no-fault grounds that their marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This is the only reason to get divorced in Colorado. No-fault divorce is a type of divorce in which the parties do not have to prove one spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. In other words, neither you nor your spouse has to prove any misconduct to justify the divorce. Further, even if marital misconduct—such as cheating—has occurred, a Colorado court will not assign fault.
Cheating Generally Does Not Affect Property Division, Alimony, or Child Custody
In the state of Colorado, adultery or infidelity generally does not have an impact on the division of property, alimony, or child custody in a divorce case. As Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, a court will—for the most part—not focus on the specific reason why the marriage broke down. A couple’s marital property is divided based on the equitable property division standard. Alimony (spousal support) is determined under Colorado law. Finally, child custody is determined based on Colorado’s best interests of the child legal standard.
The Exception: Cheating had a Direct Impact on Marital Funds and Parental Suitability
While in the state of Colorado, adultery or infidelity generally does not have an impact on the division of property, alimony, or child custody in a divorce, there is an exception. If the cheating had a direct impact on marital funds or the parental suitability of the cheating spouse, it may be considered by the court. Here is what you should know:
- Property Division: In terms of the division of property, if the cheating spouse used marital assets, such as money or property, to support an extramarital affair, this may be taken into account by the court in determining the fair and equitable division of assets and debts.
- Child Custody and Visitation: If the cheating behavior had a negative impact on the parental suitability of the cheating spouse, it may be considered in child custody decisions. For example, if the cheating spouse engaged in behavior that posed a risk to the safety or well-being of the child, such as substance abuse or neglect, this could be a factor in determining custody.
Get Help From Our Colorado Divorce Attorney Today
At Tanis McGonegal Family Law, P.C., our Colorado divorce lawyers are committed to providing family law representation you can trust. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the impact of marital infidelity on divorce, we can help. Give us a call now or contact us online to set up your strictly confidential case review. With a law office in Broomfield, we serve communities throughout the region, including Boulder County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Weld County, and Arapahoe County.