Do You Have to Pay Alimony if Your Spouse Cheats in Colorado?

Price Family Law
Denver Family Law Attorney

How Colorado Alimony Laws Affect You

The Impact of Behaviors

While divorce in and of itself may seem simple, its impact on couples and families is anything but. The issues that must be settled when marriages come to an end are numerous, and how they are determined is incredibly involved.  Support, alimony, spousal maintenance — these simple terms, which are often used interchangeably, represent one of the most complex issues during a divorce.

No two marriages are the same, nor are the ways in which couples manage their lives, their careers, and their finances once they tie the knot. In some cases, each spouse continues to pursue their professional goals outside the home, while in others one may elect to make changes, especially if children are a part of the picture.  And, when it comes to money, the strategies employed vary considerably. Some couples keep separate bank accounts while others live by a “what’s yours is mine” mentality.  In certain relationships, earnings are comparable, while in others, disparities exist. Regardless of the choices made, divorce results in significant change.

Divorcing couples are faced with important financial decisions.

Determined by the court, alimony is money paid by one spouse to the other, during or after a divorce, to provide necessary financial support. The goal of alimony is to maintain the standard of living the couple had prior to separating.

Alimony negotiations can be contentious; not every individual believes they should have to help support their ex. Certain behaviors while married can absolutely influence one spouse’s willingness to help care for the other. If you are considering a divorce and are concerned about how the circumstances surrounding your separation and your life may impact alimony, the advice of an experienced divorce lawyer can help.

At Price Family Law our team has significant experience in alimony negotiations and is ready to help you. Contact us at 720-615-1750 to schedule a free consultation; we look forward to better understanding the entirety of your situation and helping to finalize a fair settlement in preparation for your future.

Infidelity and Alimony in Colorado?

What Happens When Cheating Occurs

Under the best of circumstances, divorce can be emotional and frustrating. When cheating is at the heart of your split, the process can become combative and retaliatory.

None of this is surprising. After all, infidelity is a breach of trust, for many something that can never be forgiven.  In many situations, cheating is one of the primary reasons couples divorce. Many states across the country have fault-based divorce laws and adultery is an accepted reason for ending a union.  In cases like this, it may also impact alimony payments.  However, Colorado is different.

According to Colorado law (Colo. Rev. Stat. §14-10-110(1) (2022), our state is a no-fault state; thus, misconduct or fault is not considered in any part of the divorce process (including granting the divorce, dividing property or determining alimony).

This means that couples who decide to end their marriages do not need to state a reason. Even if adultery played a role in your split, in most cases it is not a valid excuse to avoid paying alimony.

Types of Alimony in Colorado

Colorado law recognizes two types of alimony:  temporary and post divorce.  In some cases judges may order spousal maintenance (alimony) to be paid during the divorce process. Because divorce is not instantaneous (in some cases divorce negotiations can take a considerable amount of time), marital expenses continue to accrue and must be paid. Depending upon a host of factors, one party may be required to pay the other alimony to help support them during this time.

In many cases, divorce results in financial imbalance. This situation may result in judge-ordered alimony payments to help support the spouse with greater need. The time frames surrounding alimony requirements can vary considerably.  In some cases, an end date is determined during the negotiations. In other cases, a new marriage will end the mandatory payments.  Finally, some individuals pay and receive alimony until one of them passes away.

It is important to understand that spousal support decisions can be modified.  A Colorado divorce lawyer can help you address this process if your situation has changed.

Determining Alimony in Colorado

Alimony, in Colorado, is more commonly referred to as “spousal maintenance.” Determining whether it is necessary and calculating the appropriate amount is determined by a judge. That said, having a reputable divorce attorney represent you during these negotiations is wise. The first thing a judge must decide is whether alimony is warranted.  Your Colorado divorce lawyer can help build your case.

Once it is decided that alimony will play a role in your future, the judge must calculate the appropriate amount.

Based on their knowledge of your specific situation, the divorce attorneys at Price Family Law can help ascertain the alimony you are  entitled to receive.

They can also substantiate your alimony requests, leading to a more favorable outcome.

When determining alimony in Colorado, judges take into account a number of factors, including, but not limited to,  the following information based on Colorado law (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-114(3)(a)(I) (2021).):

  • Length of the marriage
  • Level of education
  • Age
  • Health
  • Gross income
  • Lifestyle during the course of the marriage
  • Earnings and employment ability
  • Financial resources
  • Assets (as awarded as part of the divorce)
  • Tax implications.

It is important to recognize that adultery during the marriage is not included among the factors to be considered.  So, in the vast majority of cases, this type of behavior does not play a role in the support decision.  In a very few certain instances the judge may take it into account (for instance, when the cheating impacted the financial status of the family).

Negotiating Alimony Is Multifaceted

The Colorado Divorce Lawyers at Price Family Law Can Help Make a Real Difference

Divorce marks the end of one chapter of your life and the beginning of the next. As you embark upon this new situation, it is important to protect yourself and your future.

Disagreements over spousal support and other finances are commonplace during divorce, even for those whose separations are amicable. The decisions made during these negotiations can impact you for years to come. This is not a process you should handle on your own.

The advice and counsel of skilled divorce lawyers can make a very real difference in the final alimony decision as well as the other aspects of your divorce (distribution of property, parenting plans, and child support).

Alimony is an important component in your divorce and after. It impacts your financial well-being.  At Price Family Law, our team is well-versed in Colorado divorce law, including all aspects of spousal support.  Additionally, we approach each case with the knowledge that no two divorce situations are the same.  Thus, we take our time when working with you, making sure we understand the ins and outs of your situation and ensuring that our knowledge of your current financial position and future needs is complete. When support decisions are being made, the little things can make the biggest difference — we make sure nothing is overlooked.

Additionally, we have a reputation for providing outstanding personal and responsive service during the most tumultuous times. We approach all situations calmly and rationally, but with unwavering support for our clients.

If your marriage has come to an end, don’t hesitate to contact us at 720-615-1750 to schedule a free consultation. Time is a valuable commodity in alimony negotiations and divorce proceedings. We are ready to provide you with our undivided attention and share how we can best support you during this challenging time.

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    Attorney Trista Price

    Trista McElhaney Price is a founding partner at Price Family Law, LLC. She specializes in high-asset divorce cases and legal matters involving complex business and financial issues as well as complex custody matters involving domestic violence, substance abuse issues, and mental health issues. Read Full Bio.