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Impact of criminal background on divorce

While many divorces are straightforward, there are certain matters that can complicate issues. Many spouses going through a divorce worry if a criminal background will come back to bite them.

What is the rule in Colorado? Every case is different, and you will need to speak with your attorney to anticipate whether your ex will use your criminal past against you when it comes to alimony or child custody. 

Minor crimes

Minor, non-violent crimes typically do not come up at all in divorce proceedings. Therefore, if the police arrested someone years ago for shoplifting, then it is possible it will not come up in court at all. Even if it does, the judge may not even consider it. 

Crimes related to drug use

Judges will become more concerned if a spouse has a history of drug use, particularly if it involves cocaine, heroin or other hard drugs. The judge may be wary of permitting the spouse to have a substantial amount of custody over any children. Some courts may require the spouse to submit to regular drug tests to ensure the child will be safe when in his or her sole custody. 

Violent crimes

Courts give a lot of weight to violent crimes. However, the exact outcome will depend on several factors of the crime, including:

  • Type of offense
  • Nature of the sentence
  • Whether there are multiple convictions
  • How old the conviction is
  • Who the victim was

For example, if someone has a history of assaulting a minor, then a judge may not permit the spouse to have any custody without undergoing counseling first. There are other crimes, such as stalking, battery and weapons offenses, that could make a judge worry about whether a parent will exhibit violence while in the presence of a child. 

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Martinez Law Firm, LLC
7175 W. Jefferson Ave, Suite 2800
Lakewood, CO 80235

Phone: 720-889-3355
Fax: 303-648-4572
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