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How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Colorado?

Adultery can profoundly impact the dynamics of a marriage, often leading to emotional distress and irreconcilable differences between spouses. Understanding how infidelity may influence the divorce process is essential for individuals navigating the complexities of marital dissolution.

Colorado is a no-fault state when it comes to the grounds for divorce. This means that the Court will not consider either spouse’s misconduct when granting the divorce or awarding property or support. The only recognized legal basis for divorce in the state of Colorado is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

For couples in Colorado facing the dissolution of their marriage, questions surrounding the role of adultery in divorce proceedings frequently arise. When it comes to cheating spouses, the only issue that may be relevant is if the spouse in the extra-marital relationship is bringing the children around their new partner, and the effect of that is not in the best interests of the children. In that instance, the Court may intervene in terms of the
child custody order.

Colorado Divorce Laws

In Colorado, divorce is governed by statutes that outline the legal requirements and procedures for ending a marriage. The state follows a “no-fault” divorce system, which means that couples seeking divorce are not required to assign blame or prove fault to obtain a divorce decree.

Instead, the only grounds for divorce recognized by Colorado law is the assertion that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” indicating that attempts at reconciliation have been unsuccessful.

Adultery and Divorce in Colorado

“Despite the emotional impact that adultery may have on a marriage, Colorado law does not specifically address infidelity as a grounds for divorce,” says Attorney Joseph Cash of Colorado Legal Group.

In other words, the fact that one spouse has engaged in extramarital affairs is not, in itself, sufficient to warrant divorce under Colorado law. Instead, couples seeking divorce need only demonstrate that the marriage is irretrievably broken, irrespective of the reasons behind its breakdown. While adultery may not serve as a legal basis for divorce in Colorado, it can still have implications for certain aspects of the divorce process.

For example, if adultery has led to the dissipation of marital assets or financial misconduct by one spouse, such behavior may be taken into consideration by the court when determining issues such as property division, alimony, and child custody.

Is Your Cheating Spouse Gaslighting You?

Gaslighting between the husband or wife involves one partner manipulating the other through psychological tactics to undermine the other person’s confidence and perceptions. This can even happen when you have definitive evidence of cheating.

CEO David Crum of Colorado Legal Group states “For anyone who believes they are being gaslit, I am so sorry you’re going through this! In the course of my practice, I see gaslighting occurring in 6 basic ways.”

Trivializing: Minimization and Invalidation

“Your partner minimizes your feelings, suggests your emotions don’t matter, or accuses you of overreacting.”

The gaslighter may downplay the other person’s emotions, experiences, or concerns, making them feel like their feelings are exaggerated or unwarranted. They might dismiss the other person’s feelings as irrational or overly sensitive.

Countering: Denial and Distortion of Reality or Memory

“Your partner may question your memory, make up new details, or deny something that happened. They might even blame you for the situation instead.”

The gaslighting partner may deny past events or conversations that the other partner clearly remembers. They might twist facts or reinterpret events to make themselves appear innocent or to cast doubt on the other person’s version of events.

Withholding: Avoidant and Agitated Behavior

“Your partner brushes off your attempts to have a discussion or accuses you of trying to confuse them.”

Gaslighting often leaves the other person feeling confused, doubting their own perceptions, and questioning their own sanity. The gaslighter’s consistent denial and manipulation can erode the other person’s self-esteem and make them increasingly dependent on the gaslighter’s version of reality.

Diversion: Manipulative Behavior

“When you bring up a concern about their behavior, they change the subject or turn it back on you by suggesting you’re making it up.”

Gaslighters may use manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping, emotional blackmail, or threats to maintain control over the other person or to coerce them into making decisions that benefit the gaslighter.

Forgetting or Denying: Erasing “Memories” and Blame-shifting

“When you mention a specific event or something they said, they might say they can’t remember or that it never happened.”

These kinds of partners often deflect responsibility for their actions by blaming forgetfulness the other person for “imagining” problems in the relationship or for the divorce itself. They may make the other person feel guilty or responsible for their behavior, even when they are not at fault.

Discrediting: Isolation from Friends and Family

“Your partner suggests to other people, family and friends, that you can’t remember things correctly. You get easily confused or imagine things that never happened.”

A cheating spouse who gaslights may attempt to isolate their partner from friends, family, or sources of support by convincing them that others are not to be trusted or that they are the only ones who truly understand and care for them.

Cheating gaslighters are master manipulators whose mindset will not change or improve. The longer someone stays with a gaslighter, the harder it becomes to leave. If you’ve noticed over the years that people are slowly exiting your life, especially family, this is an indication the cheating, gaslighting spouse is winning.

It’s important to seek mental health resources and legal advice so you can exit this toxic relationship sooner rather than later.

8 Steps to Quickly Divorce a Cheater

When facing the difficult situation of discovering a partner’s infidelity and contemplating divorce, it’s essential to approach the process thoughtfully and strategically. Your partner committed an action that has made you feel betrayed, and if you’re leaning towards divorce, it’s important to be prepared.

According to Jonathon Decker, LMFT, “Betrayal is when your partner turns outside of the relationship for needs that should only be met inside of the relationship, that’s traumatic. Trauma is believing that your world is safe and then discovering that it’s not.”

Here are steps you can take to navigate a divorce successfully after catching your partner cheating:

1. Gather Evidence

If you suspect your partner of cheating, gather any evidence you can to support your claim. This may include emails, text messages, social media communications, photographs, or witness statements. Documentation of infidelity can be valuable when addressing issues such as property division, custody, or alimony during the divorce process.

2. Consult with an Attorney

Schedule a consultation with a reputable divorce attorney who has experience handling cases involving infidelity. An attorney can provide valuable guidance on your legal rights, options, and potential outcomes based on the specific circumstances of your situation. They can also advise you on how to protect your interests and navigate the divorce process effectively.

3. Consider Counseling

Before making any decisions about divorce, consider seeking counseling or therapy to process your emotions and explore your options. Divorce is a significant life transition, and having emotional support can be invaluable during this challenging time. Counseling can also help you make informed decisions about your future and the well-being of any children involved.

4. Understand Your Financial Situation

Take stock of your financial situation and gather documentation of assets, debts, income, and expenses. Understanding your financial picture is crucial for negotiating a fair settlement during the divorce process. If you have concerns about financial impropriety related to your partner’s infidelity, discuss them with your attorney.

5. Explore Your Options

There are various ways to approach divorce, including negotiation, mediation, collaborative divorce, or litigation. Consider which option aligns best with your goals, preferences, and the level of cooperation between you and your spouse. Your attorney can help you explore these options and determine the most appropriate course of action.

6. Protect Your Privacy

Be mindful of your privacy and security when gathering evidence or discussing divorce-related matters. Avoid sharing sensitive information or engaging in confrontations with your cheating spouse that could escalate tensions or compromise your safety. If necessary, take steps to safeguard your personal information and communication channels.

7. Prioritize Your Well-Being

Throughout the divorce process, prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Practice self-care, seek support from trusted friends and family members, and consider engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Taking care of yourself is essential for navigating the challenges of divorce with resilience and strength.

8. Focus on the Future

While addressing the pain of infidelity and the challenges of divorce can be overwhelming, try to focus on the future and the opportunities it may bring. Set realistic goals for yourself, envision the life you want to create post-divorce, and take steps to work towards that vision. Remember that divorce, while difficult, can also be a catalyst for positive change and personal growth.

8 Things That Catch People Off Guard During Divorce

During the divorce process in Colorado, several legal examples and scenarios can catch people off guard due to the complexities of family law and the unique provisions of Colorado statutes.

Here are some potential surprises that individuals may encounter:

1. Property Division

Colorado follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Individuals may be surprised to learn that marital assets and debts acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name they are in, are subject to division. This can include retirement accounts, real estate, investments, and even business interests.

2. Separate Property Issues

While marital property is subject to division, separate property, such as assets owned before the marriage or received as a gift or inheritance, is generally not divided in a divorce. However, individuals may be surprised to discover that commingling separate and marital property can complicate matters, potentially leading to disputes over asset classification.

3. Child Custody Determinations

Colorado courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody decisions. While parents may have strong feelings about custody arrangements, judges must base their decisions on factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s adjustment to their home, and each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs. This can sometimes lead to outcomes that differ from what one or both parents expected.

4. Spousal Maintenance

Colorado law provides guidelines for determining spousal maintenance, but the calculation can still vary based on individual circumstances. Individuals may be surprised to learn that factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial resources, and the standard of living during the marriage can influence the amount and duration of spousal maintenance awarded.

5. Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Colorado encourages mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve divorce-related issues amicably. Individuals may be surprised to learn that they are required to participate in mediation before going to trial in many cases. While mediation can be beneficial for reaching agreements outside of court, some individuals may feel caught off guard by the process.

6. Legal Fees and Costs

Legal fees and court costs associated with divorce can add up quickly. Individuals may be surprised by the expenses involved in hiring an attorney, filing court documents, and attending hearings. It’s essential to discuss fee arrangements with your attorney upfront and be prepared for potential costs throughout the divorce process.

7. Enforcement of Court Orders

Once a divorce decree is issued, both parties are legally obligated to comply with its terms. Individuals may be surprised to learn that failing to comply with court orders, such as paying child support or adhering to custody arrangements, can result in legal consequences, including contempt of court charges.

8. Modification of Orders

Circumstances may change after a divorce is finalized, requiring modifications to court orders related to child custody, child support, or spousal maintenance. Individuals may be surprised to learn that modifying court orders requires filing a petition with the court and demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances.

Hiring a Colorado Divorce Attorney

While adultery may not serve as a direct basis for divorce in Colorado, it can still have implications for certain aspects of the divorce process. Individuals considering divorce in Colorado should be aware of the state’s no-fault divorce laws and the potential effects of adultery on issues such as property division, alimony, and child custody.

Seeking guidance from experienced legal professionals can help individuals navigate the complexities of divorce and ensure that their rights and interests are protected throughout the process.

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