Colorado Alimony Information
Do You Request Alimony, Maintenance Or Support?
Alimony, spousal maintenance, and spousal support are interchangeable terms used to describe financial assistance paid by one spouse to the other during or after a Colorado divorce proceeding. The purpose is the same, only the terms are different. Either spouse may ask for alimony, spousal maintenance or support at any time during or after a divorce proceeding.
A divorce is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. So, it’s vital to fully understand how the long term financial impact of dissolving a marriage in Colorado may affect you.
We strongly encourage anyone considering divorce to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to discuss the details of your specific situation.
Alimony In Colorado Explained
There are two (2) forms of alimony in Colorado:
- Statutory Maintenance (also called Transitional or Temporary maintenance) occurs when a judge orders financial assistance before a divorce or legal separation is finalized.
- Contractual and Non-Modifiable Maintenance (also called Permanent Alimony) is a binding post-decree contract agreed upon by the divorcing or separating parties.
And four (4) categories of alimony duration:
- Temporary maintenance is awarded before a divorce is finalized.
- Short-term alimony is awarded when one spouse needs additional time to complete training or education to find appropriate employment to allow for self-sufficiency.
- Mid-term spousal maintenance may be awarded if it is necessary for a spouse to work part-time in order to receive additional training or education.
- Long-term, open-ended maintenance may be ordered when one spouse’s earning capacity is permanently impaired due to an illness or disability.
Qualifying For Alimony
Typically, only when a marriage has lasted for more than three years does the court consider spousal support appropriate. Colorado courts additionally examine the following considerations when evaluating spousal support eligibility:
- The length of the marriage. For example, those who were married for longer than 20 years will be given a longer period of time to pay or receive alimony than those who were married for five years or less.
- The spouses’ incomes and earning capacities. A spouse with a lower actual or potential income may be ordered to pay alimony to help ensure that the spouse who earns more has the opportunity to maintain the same standard of living following divorce.
- Whether there are dependent children still in the home. Alimony, sometimes called spousal maintenance or spousal support is designed to help one spouse with expenses during divorce proceedings and afterward.
- The marital standard of living. A court may order alimony payments to maintain the standard of living enjoyed by both parties before the breakdown of their marriage.
- The physical and emotional condition of the spouses, including their ages and other factors.
Determining a reasonable amount can be difficult for everyone involved. When possible, it is best to have a Colorado Springs divorce lawyer and family law attorney on your side to help make sure that you receive a fair alimony award and marital property apportioned.
The amount and duration of financial resources to be paid will be determined by the judge once the court has made an initial determination that support is warranted.
Colorado law, in contrast to that of other states, provides courts with a formula to calculate the amount of alimony to be paid. A monthly payment of 40% of the higher earner’s monthly adjusted gross income minus 50% of the lower earner’s monthly adjusted gross income is outlined in the formula.
If either spouse (or both) are making child support or spousal maintenance payments for children and a former spouse outside of the present marriage, those amounts will be taken into account by the court before applying the alimony formula.
An example of applying this formula would be:
If the higher earning spouse makes $6,000 monthly, and the other spouse makes $4000, the calculated maintenance award would be $900.
Alimony Payment & Receipt
Terms of assistance, such as payment method and frequency, can be agreed with by the parties involved. It is possible, however, that in the event that a couple cannot reach agreement, the court will intervene. Monthly payments are typical in most situations. An income withholding order will be issued by the court, which instructs the paying spouse’s employer to deduct the award from the employee’s salary.
A lump sum payment of support may be allowed by the court if the paying spouse has the ability to do so, check with an expert divorce lawyer for more details. There is no ongoing duty to pay monthly support with lump-sum payments, thus the recipient does not have to be concerned about non-payment over time.
It is possible for the receiving spouse to seek judicial aid if the paying spouse fails to satisfy their duties. Non-compliance with the court’s order to pay child support can lead to penalties, court appearances, loss of licenses, bank account and tax return intercepts, or even jail time, since the court views it extremely seriously.
Modifying An Alimony Agreement
In the absence of a formal agreement to the contrary, Colorado law grants the court authority to amend monthly payments if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Maintenance is typically terminated if the beneficiary remarries or if one of the parties dies.