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Infidelity and how it relates to divorce

According to recent statistics, infidelity remains a relatively common issue among married couples in this country, and particularly among older adults.

Generally speaking, one in five of all men and 13 percent of all women admitted to having a sexual affair while married. These numbers do not factor in so-called emotional affairs or other relationships that do not involve sexual intercourse.

Not surprisingly, infidelity impacts the divorce rate. Among those who admitted to having affairs, only a little over half were married while about 40 percent were divorced or legally separated. Among those who claimed fidelity, over three out of four remained married, while 17 percent were divorced or separated.

When it comes to the actual divorce or separation process, however, infidelity does not play in as much as a resident of the Denver area might think. Since Colorado is what is called a no-fault state, a person involved in a divorce cannot be punished for cheating. In fact, judges may be reluctant even to hear evidence about a party's extra-marital affairs.

There are some exceptions to this rule. As this blog has discussed before, for instance, Colorado courts will decide child custody and parenting time according to the best interests of the children.

If a parent's affair partner remains in the picture, and, for example, has a documented history of drug abuse, domestic violence or the like, then the other parent can bring that issue to the judge's attention.

Likewise, since the judge is supposed to divide property fairly and equitably, any expenditures a spouse may have incurred because of an affair may get considered. In some cases, a judge may even alter the final property division so as to require the spouse to repay his or her share of these expenses.

Generally speaking, infidelity has little legal bearing on a Colorado divorce or separation. However, there are exceptions to this rule. People who have questions should speak to a family law attorney.

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