The concept of the “no-fault divorce” was originated in California in 1970. “No-fault divorces” were originated because it did not seem to make sense to force people to stay in a marriage when they were not happy, and that requiring someone to prove legal grounds to dissolve the marriage was not serving any useful purpose.
Rather this extra step made divorces more expensive for the already aggrieved spouse. Moreover, there are defenses to a “fault divorce,” such as provocation, condonation, or collusion. Thus, if one spouse alleges a basis for a “fault divorce” that is unseemly such as abuse or adultery, the other spouse may argue there was a defense for the behavior causing that issue to become very expensive to litigate. Further, citing a specific reason for the divorce made already heightened emotions worse.
Historically, in order to obtain a divorce one had to prove the existence of legal grounds such as adultery, abuse, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, mental cruelty, or abandonment. In recent years, when people had to prove fault, courts often had to grant divorces on bases that were easier to prove, such as “mental cruelty.” In this situation, the spouse would testify that he or she was being subjected to mental stress as a result of the actions of the other spouse. Over time, the “no-fault divorce” law expanded to the majority of states making it much easier to obtain a divorce - simply because one was unhappy and the marriage was irretrievably broken.
However, in Colorado, which is a strict “no-fault divorce” state, Courts are very restrictive about hearing any evidence regarding any fault basis. In Colorado, the Court will only allows evidence that there was an extramarital affair, if the financial expenditures paid on for the affair were extreme and expended without the consent of the unknowing spouse, but the amount of those expenses have to be established such as hotel costs or expensive gifts. Further, where a spouse engaged in acts of domestic violence, the law has presumptions against joint decision-making and parenting time as the law deems domestic violence acts committed against a spouse to be harmful to children, whether the children are involved or not.
In Colorado, the concept of what testimony and evidence is relevant in a “no-fault divorce” can be confusing. The best course of action is to speak with an experienced divorce attorney.
For all your divorce and family law needs,
please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann & Nagel, LLC.