I live in the state of Colorado. My husband has been cheating on me and I’m about to file for divorce. I was told that because of no-fault divorce laws that I can’t use his cheating as grounds for divorce. Is this true, can he cheat, spend money on this other woman, and not be held accountable?
Being “held accountable” is a phrase tossed around by frustrated spouses a lot. The answer we divorce lawyers have is only going to add to your frustration – so let’s just get this out of the way so at least you aren’t paying your attorney’s hourly rate while on top of being frustrated, here it is: it depends. Now let’s break it down:
Will the judge want to hear about his cheating (or even care)? Not really. Keep in mind that judges see many cases every day and many of those cases involve some claim of wrongdoing by one or both spouses – cheating, lying, porn addiction, domestic violence – and that’s just one day’s worth of the sad parade marching through their courtrooms.
Can he spend money on another woman and not have to pay it back? We’re back to “it depends” (sorry, I know everyone hates that answer!). Some states have laws that allow a spouse to ask for reimbursement for money spent behind your back. But let me ask a more important question, how much did he spend? Are we talking about a $20,000 luxury trip to Paris or a few nights at a Motel 6 in Boulder? If it will cost you more in attorney fees than he spent, let it go. As the saying goes, there is no sense throwing good money after bad.
Speaking not as a lawyer, but as one divorced mom to another, this is a road you do not want to go down, sweetie. Spending hours pouring over the financial details of your husband’s cheating to prepare evidence for court is incredibly painful. In my many years as a divorce attorney, I have only seen a handful of people actually be able to recover money spent on affairs. It’s hard to prove and judges don’t like dealing with it.
I would focus your efforts on getting a fair property and support settlement instead. Then set aside a little money to treat yourself to a spa day, maybe some cute shoes, and a whole lotta therapy so that you can heal and move on to the great life you deserve.