People going through a divorce often have preconceived notions of alimony or spousal maintenance, including how it is affected when a divorce is caused by an adulterous spouse. Unfortunately, those preconceived notions of who pays and how much or for how long can be misguided.
Colorado takes alimony very seriously. Lawmakers recognize that when couples marry, their finances become closely intertwined, and then it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the spouse’s contributions to the marital estate. For this reason, Colorado has a simple rule. If the couple together makes less than $75,000 in gross annual income, temporary alimony is mandatory.
On the other hand, if the couple’s annual income exceeds $75,000, the judge has the discretion to order temporary alimony and determine the amount. This law was adopted to ensure the lower-earning spouse has sufficient funds to pay for their necessities as the divorce moves through the courts.
Now you may be wondering if a spouse committing adultery affects alimony in Colorado. A spouse commits adultery when they have a voluntary sexual encounter with someone who isn’t their husband or wife. In other words, it is cheating. In many states, adultery is frowned upon in a divorce case and can have a definite impact on alimony and property division. However, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the court does not recognize why the marriage failed, nor will it consider any evidence of the spouse’s marital misconduct.
Nonetheless, there is a very narrow exception, and that is when a spouse’s misconduct leads 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, that could be counted against him when it comes to his wife’s alimony award or the division of property. Alimony can be an essential part of your divorce negotiations.
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