Colorado Divorce Maintenance Laws

In Colorado, alimony or spousal support is called maintenance. When considering whether an individual qualifies for collecting alimony/maintenance, the Court will apply the following three criteria in its determination: (1) whether a party has insufficient property to care for his/her reasonable needs; (2) the inability of one spouse to support his/herself through appropriate employment and; (3) the ability of the other spouse to provide support. Maintenance, including the amount awarded, is determined on a case-by-case basis and ends upon death or remarriage unless stated otherwise. Maintenance may be ordered payable for an indefinite duration, a fixed period of time, or on a temporary basis while the parties’ divorce case is pending.

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The History of Colorado Alimony

In July 2001 the State Legislature enacted a new law establishing a statutory formula for determining temporary maintenance in Colorado. The new law sought to cure the inadequate amount of temporary Colorado alimony, or maintenance, historically awarded to stay-at-home spouses while their divorce was pending. Under the law, a presumption for temporary maintenance occurs in all cases where the parties’ combined income is less than $75,000. In these cases, the amount of maintenance the court may award is determined by a mathematical formula. The court may deviate from the presumptive award of temporary maintenance if it determines that the award will be unjust or inequitable. The parties may also agree to waive temporary Colorado divorce maintenance on their own accord. The formula is for temporary maintenance only and is not used to determine maintenance at the permanent orders hearing.

Colorado Divorce Maintenance Complexity

The law on Colorado divorce maintenance is somewhat complex. If you believe you are entitled to maintenance, you should be sure to review your needs with a competent family law attorney. It is important to realize that the right to maintenance may be permanently lost if it is not awarded in your case. However, in Colorado, alimony is awarded in addition to child support, so parties should review their total financial needs in order to determine a fair amount of financial support for both during and after their case.

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