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What Are The Different Types Of Spousal Support?

Andrew Stein

One of the most commonly discussed aspects of divorce is spousal support, which is called "maintenance" in Colorado. It’s not surprising, seeing as it’s potentially the part of the divorce negotiations that involves the most amount of money changing hands. What you may not know is that there are multiple types of maintenance that can we awarded during divorce proceedings.

1. Permanent Maintenance: Permanent spousal support continues until the ex-spouse paying dies, the ex-spouse receiving payment dies, or the ex-spouse receiving payment remarries. However, parties may reach an agreement that even allows for the continuance of maintenance payments even after the payee spouse remarries. Generally speaking, it is more common for maintenance payments to be set for a fixed amount of time following a final divorce hearing. That amount of time will usually range from about one third of the length of the marriage up to about one half of the duration of marriage.

2. Temporary maintenance: Temporary spousal support can be awarded during divorce proceedings and generally lasts through the remaining process – until being modified or terminated at a final divorce hearing. This type of spousal support is usually awarded by agreement of the parties, or at a temporary orders hearing, and is intended to help maintain the financial situation leading up to the parties’ divorce process – or at least create a more equitable situation during the divorce process for the lower earning spouse.

3. Lump Sum Alimony: In some cases, one or both of the spouses want to avoid making monthly payments or avoid receiving payments. There are many reasons why parties might agree to a lump sum payment of the maintenance obligation. But both parties should consider a number of factors prior to reaching an agreement that involves one large payment, instead of monthly payments over a longer period of time. Parties should consider the present value of the lump sum payment verses the value over time. Parties should also consider, to the extent possible, their future financial situation in general (including employment/income possibilities along with their retirement situations). And parties should keep in mind that a Colorado court is not likely to order this kind of maintenance buy out unless the parties have reached an agreement surrounding this maintenance option.

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