Although infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States, you may be surprised to learn that it is not relevant to Colorado courts in a divorce. Colorado is what is referred to as a “no fault” divorce state – i.e., you merely need to prove that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” in order to be granted a divorce. This is the only element that needs to be named in the petition for dissolution. Adulterous acts by one spouse are never considered as grounds for a Colorado divorce. In fact, the judge will not even allow you to admit evidence of adultery in the courtroom, unless it somehow applies to another part of your divorce case.
Although infidelity is not relevant to the divorce itself, such acts may be important considerations in several other divorce-related issues, such as child custody and the division of marital property. With respect to child custody, for instance, one parent may seek to raise questions about the cheating parent’s moral values. While infidelity may not directly prejudice arrangements of child custody in every case, courts may be concerned about how the infidelity affects the children, and a cheating parent may face some difficulty in obtaining custody of the children if he or she is repeatedly unfaithful in such a way as to cause an inconsistent, unhealthy environment for the children. If there is a direct correlation between the infidelity and harm to the children, the same will be relevant.
Additionally, although marital property is generally split 50/50 upon divorce given that Colorado is an “equitable distribution” state, the faithful spouse may seek to prove that the unfaithful spouse engaged in marital waste by spending money on gifts, trips, and other expenses in order to carry out an extramarital affair. Ultimately, this may influence the Court’s decision as to the equitable distribution of assets, for instance, such that the faithful spouse will be awarded a larger share than otherwise.
Please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Margulis LLC for all of your family law needs.