Spousal Maintenance

Adultery’s Impact on Spousal Maintenance in Colorado

In Colorado, “alimony” is called spousal maintenance, which refers to the money that a higher-earning spouse pays to a lower-earning spouse during and after a divorce. The whole purpose of spousal maintenance is to ensure the spouses continue to live at a standard of living that is close to what was enjoyed while they were married.

Many states make it clear that alimony is not automatic in a divorce and that it is handled on a case-by-case basis, but Colorado has a different take on it. Lawmakers in Colorado take alimony very seriously because they believe that when couples marry, their finances are commingled, so much that it can be very difficult to separate the respective contributions of each spouse.

As a result of the above view, Colorado has a legal assumption that when a couple’s combined gross annual income is below $75,000, temporary alimony has to be ordered while a couple’s divorce is processing through the courts. But when the couple earns more than $75,000 a year, temporary alimony is up to the discretion of the judge.

Will Adultery Affect Alimony?

As a general rule, family courts across the nation agree that adultery occurs when a spouse engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is not their legal spouse; this can occur with a one-time encounter or a full-blown affair.

In some states, adultery can be used against a spouse who is seeking an alimony award. In such states, an adulterous spouse can be punished for their adulterous behavior by a reduction or denial in alimony.

Colorado, however, is a no-fault divorce state and judges are not concerned with a spouse’s marital misconduct, and that includes infidelity. There is one exception to this rule, but it is narrow: if the cheating spouse wasted marital assets on their lover, for example, if he or she used marital funds on lavish vacations or to pay their paramour’s bills, then it could impact their alimony award or property division.

To learn more about spousal maintenance in a Colorado divorce, contact Kaplan Law L.L.C. at (303) 747-4748.