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Can you punish your ex for adultery during a Colorado divorce?

Infidelity is one of the most common reasons that people seek a divorce. It is an unfortunate fact of life that many people cannot abide by their promise for long-term monogamy with their spouse for any number of reasons. Discovering that your spouse has a philandering side can feel like a true violation of your trust, which is why it often leads to divorce filings.

Of course, if your ex is still carrying on with their extramarital partner, simply ending your marriage may not seem like a sufficient penalty for their indiscretion. Many people strongly want to punish their ex for hurting them. It is relatively common for spouses dealing with an affair to want to hold their ex accountable for their infidelity during the divorce. Unfortunately, Colorado law does not allow many forms of recourse for a jilted spouse.

There are limits to how infidelity affects finances in a divorce

Possibly because of stories they've heard or something they've seen in a movie or on television, many people mistakenly believe that they can ask for a bigger portion of the marital property because their ex cheated.

Financial penalties related to affairs are only an option for couples who have prenuptial or postnuptial agreements on record that authorize penalties for an unfaithful spouse. If you don't have something on record that creates a penalty for an affair, the courts will not generally impose one.

The courts must do their best to fairly split your marital property with your ex without consideration of marital misconduct. The only potential exception to that rule is if your ex wasted marital assets while conducting their affair. The courts may adjust the asset division process to reflect the value of the marital assets your ex wasted on dinners, gifts and hotel rooms.

Infidelity does not impact someone's ability to parent

Some people don't expect a bigger share of the marital estate because of an affair. Instead, they want to limit the access of their ex to their shared children. Many spouses see custody as the most emotionally poignant means of punishing their ex.

The courts are not going to take a positive stance on an attempt to alienate your ex from the children because of an issue with your relationship. Instead, they want to make custody decisions that center the best needs of the children over the wishes or vendettas of the parents. That should be a focus for you as well, as you want to protect your children during a divorce.

You may feel hurt by the actions of an unfaithful spouse, but you could greatly increase the overall cost of your divorce by digging in your heels in an attempt to penalize them. The best revenge is living your best life, which means focusing on protecting your children and building yourself a better future without your philandering ex there to mess it up.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
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