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Cheating and Divorce: Factors Colorado Families Should Consider

Tanis McGonegal Family Law Denver divorce lawyer attorney law firm

North Denver Divorce Lawyers

Understanding When a Spouse’s Infidelity May Lead to Divorce in Colorado

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO, UNITED STATES, January 31, 2023 / -- Attorneys Leonard D. Tanis and Michael McGonegal, through their divorce practice in the North Denver area, have witnessed firsthand how infidelity impacts a married couple and their families. A lot of distrust and pain result. Bitter feelings can take over, leading to a downward spiral in the relationship. Yet, though one might think catching a spouse cheating would be the end of the marriage, it isn’t necessarily true. If statistics are to be believed, marriages survive infidelity more than infidelity destroys it.

Researchers in 2020 analyzed data on infidelity in marriage collected by the General Social Survey from 1991 to 2018.* It found that 12% of married people say they cheat, with most cheating performed by men. The rate of infidelity increases, too, with age – so apparently the longer a couple has been married, the more likely one spouse will cheat. Research analyzed and presented by the American Psychological Association** in 2014 suggested the “prevalence rates for infidelity in American marriages range from 20% to 40%.” It also suggested 40% of marriages experiencing the repercussions of a cheating spouse end in divorce. On the upside, the latter statistic suggests the other 50% to 60% of marriages stay intact.

Through their combined 34 years of experience in family law, attorneys Leonard D. Tanis and Michael McGonegal can testify to these statistics. Many of their clients seek divorces because their spouse has cheated. But again, cheating does not necessarily mean a divorce is right for a couple. Tanis McGonegal Family Law stresses the answer is not the same for each couple. They take a pragmatic approach, indicating each situation is unique. Accordingly, they recommend considering a number of factors and identifying any red flags, if any, before considering a Colorado divorce as the solution.

Can the Marriage Survive Infidelity? Factors to Consider

Learning that a spouse has cheated is difficult to process, but those who think about saving their marriage will have to find a way to deal with the pain. Here are a few things to consider when trying to figure out if a marriage has what it needs to survive infidelity.

Relationship with Spouse

The relationship with a spouse is critical. If the couple is generally close, communicates well, and has been with each other for years as opposed to months, there may be a solid foundation on which to rebuild. Of course, communicating may have been on the downside and that’s why, in part, a partner may have strayed to find someone who makes them feel seen and heard. But like life in general, relationships have their ups and down. It’s important to understand why a partner cheated. Was the reason superficial or something deeper that cannot be remedied?

The Affected Spouse’s Response

After learning a partner cheats, most spouses would find themselves deeply hurt. If, however, they have a relationship where they can be civil and discuss it honestly, the couple may find they can deal with it, learn from it, and move on. In other cases, one spouse or the other may simply not have the desire or willpower to try due to the devastation or, in some cases, the lack of care. The infidelity may have just been waking a spouse up and making them realize they have been ready to move on.

The Partner’s Response

In a situation where the desire is to work it out with a spouse, one must consider how they respond. If they show deep remorse and a genuine desire to take active steps to address their infidelity and improve the marital relationship, then there may be a strong chance. On the other hand, cheating may be indicative of a problem where the spouse has already lost interest in the marriage and was just going through the motions, as it were. They may not want to rekindle, but they may have chosen to cheat rather than divorce because of financial, emotional, or familial reasons. Tanis and McGonegal stress this part of the analysis can be extremely difficult as much as it is extremely important to uncover and address.

The Children, If Any

Tanis and McGonegal caution children should not necessarily be a factor in staying or leaving a marriage. The fact, however, remains that so many couples do consider their children. They may believe staying together – even when unhappy – is better than the alternative. Studies suggest conflicting results. Children of parents who stay together show difficulty developing positive self-images, forming and maintaining relationships, managing emotions, and trusting other people. They are also more at risk of neglect when their parents are focused more on a bitter marriage than anything else. At the same time, some children of divorced parents are at a higher risk of performing poorly in school and developing bad relationships with others. So, when couples think of saving their marriage, they should be cognizant of how that may impact their children, but also keep in mind it should not be the defining determination – only a factor of the total equation.

After a Spouse Cheats: Red Flags that Indicate Saving a Marriage May Not Be Worth It

A couple may be trying hard to save their marriage, but some marriages may not be able to withstand the fallout. Many red flags exist that may indicate the marriage won’t make it and to try to stay in it, whether for children or financial reasons, may not be in the couple’s best interests.

Red Flag 1: Gut Check

Check one’s own gut: what is intuition saying? Is the head saying to try to work it out because that’s the desired outcome, or is it because that’s what everyone else is saying to do? Only the individual themself knows better than anyone. One can listen to the advice of others, but ultimately, the individual needs to decide what is best for them.

Red Flag 2: Offensive Partner

If a partner goes on the offense and blames their spouse for their infidelity, that’s a red flag. They are not taking responsibility for their actions. Plus, it’s manipulative.

Red Flag 3: Defensive Partner

If a partner goes on the defense and claims it wasn’t their fault but the fault of the other person with whom they cheated. Again, the spouse is not taking responsibility for their actions but shows a proclivity to gaslight.

Red Flag 4: Dishonest Partner

If a partner is not forthcoming with the details or refuses to answer questions, they may still have something to hide. It will be difficult for trust to be established again, and without trust, rebuilding a marriage will be difficult.

Red Flag 5: Patterns

Look for patterns. Has this happened before? Not even in cheating but in behavior? Does a partner blame, hide, or lie about things? Does a partner say they will never do something again but, indeed, do it again? It may be time to put an end to the cycle.

Putting an end to a marriage is hard. There’s no doubt about it. After a spouse cheats, either rebuilding or divorcing will take its toll. Tanis McGonegal Family Law's legal team makes themselves available to hear every individual’s story. Those seeking a divorce because a spouse cheated (or for any other reason), they want individuals to know their concerns will be seen, heard, and represented.

About Tanis McGonegal Family Law

Tanis McGonegal Family Law partners Leonard D. Tanis and Michael McGonegal specialize in helping clients facing difficult divorce matters. Their approach is unique from other divorce law firms because they listen and take the time to guide families through all of their options with the family’s best interests at heart and in mind at all times.

Tanis McGonegal Family Law’s experienced attorneys genuinely understand the northwest Denver area and the issues faced by families in those communities. They help dozens of local families with the unique challenges facing today’s modern family, such as child tax credits and other tax considerations in divorce, child custody rights, grandparents’ rights, LGBTQ+ family law issues, and other key factors that should be considered in ending a marriage.

Based in Broomfield and serving Northwest Denver including Boulder, Erie, Longmont, Louisville, Northglenn, Westminster, and the rest of Denver, Tanis McGonegal Family Law is one of the highest-rated divorce law firms in Colorado. Tanis McGonegal Family Law assists clients with family law matters, child custody issues, adoption, high asset cases, property division, high conflict cases, civil protective orders, domestic violence, Colorado common law marriage, and post-divorce issues. They also are experienced Child Support lawyers. In addition, the firm offers preparation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

If you are considering divorce or you need representation in a divorce, contact Tanis McGonegal Family Law today for a free case evaluation or call (303) 465-4605 to schedule an appointment.

* Source:
** Source:

Michael McGonegal
Tanis McGonegal Family Law
+1 303-465-4605
email us here

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