Reasonable Expectations for Alimony in Colorado

If a party in a divorce cannot support themselves without their spouse, they may qualify for spousal maintenance, also known as “alimony.” Spousal maintenance is only appropriate if “a spouse needs support and the other spouse has the ability to pay support” (CRS. 14-10-114).

Gordon N. Shayne may be able to help you determine if you qualify for spousal maintenance and the factors that determine the amount of the award. These are often times strongly contested issues in a divorce case because of what is at stake. Spousal Maintenance disputes demand the kind of legal advice that only a seasoned exceptionally qualified family lawyer can provide.

How is Spousal Maintenance Awarded?

Spousal maintenance must be negotiated after a Dissolution of Marriage motion is filed. In January 2014, Colorado state law updated the advisory guidelines for awarding spousal maintenance, making it easier for parties to create a fair alimony settlement and a better expectation regarding the outcome.

If a determination as to the amount and duration of time that Spousal Maintenance would be paid is

not per the agreement of the parties, then under Colorado law, the judge has the absolute discretion in deciding these kinds of issues.

There are a wide range of cases where Spousal Maintenance is generally an issue. Many such cases arises where one spouse has been the primary “breadwinner” in a long term marriage while the other spouse has been involved as a stay at home parent, not employed outside the home.

When the parties agree to a specific amount and the duration of time that Spousal Maintenance will be paid, that agreement must be in writing and ordered by the Court, to have the parties agreement deemed “enforceable.” A Court Order for spousal maintenance and the granting of either a Legal Separation or Dissolution of Marriage that has been approved means that the failure to pay what was agreed or ordered, gives the judge powers to award additional sanctions and attorney’s fees.

How the Amount of Spousal Maintenance is Determined

The 2014 guidelines require judges to consider a number of factors before determining an amount of spousal maintenance. These include:

  • Gross income of each party
  • Marital property acquired
  • Financial resources of each party
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Number of months parties were married

The spousal maintenance amount is determined by deducting fifty percent of the lower income’s party’s monthly adjusted gross income from forty percent of the higher income’s party’s monthly adjusted gross income. If one party does not work, they cannot receive an excess of forty percent of the higher earner’s monthly adjusted gross income.

How Long Does Spousal Maintenance Last?

Spousal maintenance duration is determined by the number of months parties remained married. Maintenance must be paid on time on a monthly basis.

The new guidelines dictate that spousal maintenance can be awarded if the parties have been married a minimum of 36 months. A suggested spousal maintenance duration for a marriage lasting this long is 11 months.

Longer marriages require longer spousal maintenance durations. Other factors may affect the duration of payment, including a spouse’s ability to live independently and find work. If the marriage has lasted 20 years, the court has the ability to award spousal maintenance indefinitely.

Contact a Spousal Maintenance Attorney

If you want to pursue alimony during your divorce, you need an attorney who is knowledgeable  regarding all of the statutory criteria and relevant factors in the law that may be unique to the specific facts involved in your case. Every case is different and these kinds of legal issues are often extremely complex. A clear strategy and the time necessary to properly prepare for a request for Spousal Maintenance is what you can expect from Attorney, Gordon N. Shayne, who will gives all of his cases personal attention, providing the aggressive and skillful representation you need.

Protect your right to spousal maintenance. Contact us today.


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