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Colorado Divorce - Infidelity in 2016

This news story by Fox 2 Now demonstrates that technology has changed the landscape of infidelity in 2016 – both as it relates to having the affairs and as it relates to getting caught having the affairs. However, as a Colorado family law attorney with 17 years of experience, I think it is important to point out that the effects that infidelity has in a divorce case are actually quite limited in this day and age. This is because Colorado is a no-fault state, which means the court does not care why you are getting a divorce.

There are basically two ways that infidelity comes into play in a Colorado divorce case. The first way this information can be relevant is if there are children involved. If decision-making and parenting time are issues present in the divorce case, the extra-marital affairs can become relevant if the victim spouse can show that the cheating had a direct, detrimental impact on the minor children at issue. By way of example, if the cheating spouse brought their paramour into the house while the children were present, this would probably constitute emotional harm sufficient to be relevant. Of course, most people are smarter than that. The infidelity itself, without a direct link showing harm to the children, will not be relevant in said decisions.

The second way that said information can be relevant is if financial assets are dissipated to carry on the affair. In Colorado, the law sets forth an equitable distribution of the marital assets and liabilities – equitable does not necessarily mean 50%/50%. If the victim spouse can show that the cheating spouse spent inordinate amounts of money on their paramour, then said spouse can make the argument that marital waste occurred which could be a basis for an equitable distribution that was in that spouse’s favor. In other words, if the victim spouse can make said showing, perhaps the Court will award them 60% of the assets while the cheating spouse only receives 40% of the assets. This could be proved through review and analysis of the unfaithful spouse’s bank statements and credit card statements which are required to be produced pursuant to C.R.C.P. 16.2.

When one party believes infidelity is occurring, it is not unusual to hire a private investigator to obtain proof of the same. However, if said proof is not relevant to one of the two avenues discussed above, it may not be the best use of your financial resources.


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Categories: Divorce