Adultery in Colorado - Does Cheating Affect Alimony?

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Adultery tends to cause an immediate breakdown in the marital relationship. While many spouses can recover through marriage counseling or self-guided repair of their relationship, cheating is one of the primary reasons spouses ultimately seek divorces.

As many spouses know, cheating often has consequences. Aside from the effect of cheating on the marriage itself, cheating may affect the divorce process and any alimony awards received by the spouses. Each state varies on how exactly adultery will affect an alimony award, and so this article is intended to clarify that issue for the state of Colorado.

The Nature of Divorce in Colorado

Before discussing whether adultery or cheating would affect an award of alimony or spousal support, the nature of divorce in Colorado must be examined. Colorado has passed the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, which is a model law designed to promote uniformity in the legal system across state lines. Under the provisions of that law, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state.1 This means that marital fault or misconduct is not required for either spouse to seek a divorce.

About Colorado Alimony Rules

Alimony is known as spousal maintenance in Colorado. In 2015, Colorado passed new alimony guidelines designed to guide courts in awarding spousal maintenance.2 The core focus of the new alimony guidelines is fairness. Colorado courts therefore are now strictly concerned with awarding support to spouses who actually need it. Similarly, support can only be taken from a spouse who can actually pay for it.

Under the new guidelines, Colorado courts will consider only the following factors in awarding spousal maintenance:

  • The amount of either spouses’ income;
  • The property and assets owned by each spouse after the divorce;
  • The potential financial resources of each spouse; and
  • The fairness of a support award based on the standard of living during the marriage.

Colorado spousal maintenance can be either incremental (periodic payments made either monthly or annually) or awarded in lump sum. Spousal maintenance awards are also designed to be temporary, not permanent. Any maintenance award must either have a set termination date or a plan to slowly reduce the payment amounts over a period of time.

The Effect of Adultery and Other For-Cause Grounds for Divorce on Alimony

A party’s adulterous behavior will not affect an award of spousal support, as maintenance awards are purely financial awards that are made without regard to whether a party is at fault.3 Because Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, the award of money through the spousal maintenance process is strictly financial, rather than punitive.

The Verdict:

If your spouse has cheated on you and you are seeking a divorce in Colorado, you should not expect any additional financial payout upon divorce. This is due to the nature of Colorado as a no-fault divorce state and the rehabilitative nature of Colorado spousal maintenance.

If your spouse has been cheating on you and you plan to sue for divorce, you should consider contacting a local divorce attorney for assistance. Divorces involving adultery claims tend to be very messy lawsuits and will be very difficult to litigate on your own. Your rights can be best protected by proactively protecting your ability to succeed in your divorce litigation.

Note: This article is not legal advice. Please consult a lawyer for your specific situation.

Resources:

  1. C.R.S. 14-10-106.
  2. C.R.S. 14-10-114.
  3. Id.