Many clients approach divorce believing some myths about how the process begins and what facts are relevant to the process. Colorado’s no fault divorce rules allow for dissolution of marriage without the burden of showing a reason for the divorce. The rule also generally prohibits spouses from bringing up certain issues (such as infidelity) in the divorce proceedings because they are deemed irrelevant. This article will help you understand what a no fault divorce is and how it affects your rights.
What is a No Fault Divorce?
In days gone by the courts required couples to demonstrate some sort of “Fault” as grounds for a divorce. Fault could include substance abuse problems, abandonment, infidelity, cruelty (physical, emotional or sexual abuse) or a number of other issues. These fault issues often became a part of every aspect of the divorce and affected the parties rights in myriad ways that often appeared punitive. Over time the legal system has largely abandoned these “fault” requirements.
In Colorado all divorces are now “No Fault,” meaning that you must only allege the marriage is irretrievably broken in order to obtain a divorce. Generally speaking, this also means that the court will not be interested in the causes or reasons for the divorce and those issues are typically not discussed.
Isn’t It Important that My Spouse Cheated?
For better or worse, under the Colorado no fault divorce system, the courts generally will not be interested in the reasons for your divorce. This means that your spouse’s affairs will usually not affect your rights during a divorce. While it can certainly seem like a spouse should be punished for certain behaviors that contributed to the dissolution of marriage, Colorado’s legal system doesn’t work that way.
This doesn’t mean that infidelity is completely irrelevant, under certain circumstances infidelity or other marital problems could be considered by the court. For instance, if your spouse was spending significant marital funds on their mistress that issue could become relevant to the issues of spousal maintenance and property division. Likewise, if elements of the affair somehow affected your spouse’s ability to parent your children it may impact their parental responsibility rights.
Can a No Fault Divorce Be Contested?
Often times clients confuse the concept of fault with whether or not they can contest the divorce. These concepts are unrelated. All Colorado divorces are no fault and many are “contested.” Nothing about the divorce being no fault prevents you from contesting separation issues like property division or parental responsibility.
If you have questions about Colorado No Fault Divorce contact Littleton Divorce Attorney Bonnie Shields for a free divorce consultation. Call (303) 798-1927 now.