Finding out that your spouse has been cheating on you can be an emotionally devastating experience. The person whom you loved and trusted more than anyone else in the world has betrayed that trust and sought affection from someone else. Infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce.
All too often, the spouse who didn't cheat may feel compelled to seek some sort of revenge or perhaps justice through the court system. When it comes to both child custody and asset division, infidelity will not factor into the process.
Unless you have a prenuptial agreement that has a penalty clause related to adultery, the courts may not consider marital misconduct, including infidelity, when distributing assets. However, it may still be possible to hold your ex accountable for the financial impact of that affair.
Money spent on an affair maybe marital dissipation
When the courts look at your financial records in a divorce, one of the issues they will address is the potential for dissipation. Dissipation is a legal term that refers to the practice of intentionally diminishing the value of the marital estate.
In some cases, dissipation involves one spouse going on a spending spree right before filing for divorce. Other times, it may involve someone giving away significant assets to ensure that they are not part of the asset division process. Courts frown on dissipation, much like they do on intentionally hiding assets in a divorce.
However, dissipation can also include the use of marital assets for a purpose that does not support the marriage. In other words, dissipation can include money spent on an affair. If you have documentation of the money that your ex spent while conducting an affair in the months leading up to your divorce, that documentation could impact how the courts divide your assets.
Colorado courts tend to penalize those who engage in asset dissipation
Conducting an affair is often expensive. The people engaged in the affair may go out for expensive meals together, spend nights at hotels, take vacations or trips, and buy one another gifts. In extreme cases, spouses have gone so far as to pay for leases on vehicles or rent an apartment for their extramarital partner.
That can add up to hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars that should be part of your marital estate but now is not. Whether your ex spent actual money or incurred substantial debt conducting an affair, the courts will likely hold just your spouse accountable for the debt incurred or the money wasted on that affair.
You will need documentation of those expenses. Provided you have this, you may have legal grounds to ask the courts to consider it dissipation when they divide your marital assets in a Colorado divorce.