Does Adultery Affect Alimony in Colorado?

In Colorado, alimony or spousal support is technically called “spousal maintenance.” This refers to the money a higher-earning spouse pays to the lower-earning spouse during and after their divorce.

The purpose behind spousal maintenance is to ensure the lower-earning spouse does not end up penniless because of the divorce. Beyond that, the goal is for both spouses to continue enjoying the same quality of living they enjoyed during marriage.

While states vary on their views on alimony, Colorado takes it very seriously. Colorado lawmakers recognize that when couples marry, their finances become closely intertwined, and that it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the spouses’ individual contributions to the marital estate.

Due to the above reasons, Colorado decided when a couple has a combined gross annual income of less than $75,000, temporary alimony would be mandatory in a divorce action.

If the couple’s gross annual income exceeded $75,000, the judge may or may not order temporary alimony – it’s at the judge’s discretion.

Understandably, this law was adopted to ensure the lower-earning spouse has sufficient funds to pay for their basic necessities as the divorce is moving through the courts. Upon the conclusion of the case, when the court issues its final order, it shall decide if permanent alimony is necessary.

Will Adultery Bar a Spouse from Receiving Alimony?

A spouse commits adultery when he or she has voluntary sexual encounter with someone who is not their husband or wife. In many states, adultery is frowned upon in a divorce case and can have a definite impact on alimony and property division in a divorce.

However, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. Meaning, the court will not be concerned with why the marriage failed, nor will it consider any evidence of a spouse’s marital misconduct. As a general rule, a fling or a full-blown affair will not bar an adulterous spouse from receiving alimony, nor will it reduce an alimony award.

There is a very narrow exception and that’s when a spouse’s misconduct led to the wasting of marital assets. For example, if a cheating husband paid for his girlfriend’s apartment for a year, or bought her plastic surgery to the tune of $12,000 plus, that could be counted against him when it comes to his wife’s alimony award.

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Categories: Alimony, Adultery