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Alimony / Maintenance Helping FAMILIES ACROSS COLORADO For more than 30 Years



When a couple decides to divorce, the following question naturally arises: how can each person fairly shoulder the financial burden of the separation? While couples generally agree that each partner contributed to the marriage in different ways, divorce requires major adjustments to both parties’ lifestyles, especially for those who earned less or did not work outside the home.

The economic lives of spouses are frequently so closely intertwined in marriage, that it is often impossible to later separate the respective decisions and contributions of each spouse. You need an experienced Colorado alimony lawyer who can effectively fight for your fair share of spousal maintenance.

Call The Harris Law Firm today at (303) 622-5502 to have Colorado's premier family law firm on your case.


The term “maintenance” is used in Colorado for what many people commonly refer to as “alimony”. Maintenance is intended to allow the lower wage-earning spouse time to adjust to the financial independence that divorce requires.

Good maintenance agreements are ideally mutually agreed upon and ensure that no spouse suffers financially from a divorce. It is important to remember that maintenance is not punitive—the idea is to create two financially-stable households out of one. However, without good legal representation, maintenance agreements can range from overbearing to negligible, neither of which helps bring peace to a divorce.

Variations of Alimony: Understanding Your Options

First, it can vary in amount. Second, it can vary in duration, ranging from one lump sum payment to indefinite monthly payments. Finally, it can vary by the types of limitations that are placed upon it.

The following are different types of maintenance that can be awarded:

Temporary Maintenance: Support During Divorce Proceedings

Many couples cease sharing income at the time of separation, which can be detrimental to a spouse that was not working at the time or earning less income. Temporary alimony can be petitioned by the lower-earning spouse to assist them while the divorce is in progress.

Rehabilitative Maintenance: Empowering Self-Sufficiency

If one spouse stayed at home to raise children or manage the household while the other worked, they can petition the court for rehabilitative alimony to support them while they pursue further education or training to increase their earning potential. This is the most common form of alimony in Colorado.

Reimbursement Maintenance: Compensating Contributions

As the name implies, reimbursement alimony is for spouses who provided financial support for education and job training advancements of the other spouse during the marriage. When the marriage ends, the spouse who supported their partner is no longer receiving the benefits of those advancements and may be entitled to reimbursement.

Permanent Maintenance: Long-Term Financial Support

Permanent alimony is very rare and only awarded in cases where one spouse is unable to become financially independent because of advanced age, illness, disability, or the inability to gain employment skills.

Serving Colorado for 25 years, The Harris Law Firm understands how important it is to establish fair maintenance for both parties. Our Colorado alimony lawyers are committed to finding the best possible solution for you and your family.

Contact our dedicated team today to find out how we can help you.

Factors Influencing Alimony Decisions in Colorado

In 2014, Colorado lawmakers developed advisory guidelines for the amount and term of alimony, aiming to make maintenance awards more consistent throughout the state. Courts are allowed to deviate from the guidelines, and the guidelines only apply to parties who have been married for at least three years and have a combined annual adjusted gross income of less than $240,000 dollars.

The court may consider the following factors when awarding maintenance:

  • The lifestyle of both spouses during the marriage;
  • The distribution of marital property;
  • Both parties' employability, whether additional training or education is necessary;
  • Whether one party has historically earned higher income or lower income;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Whether any temporary maintenance was paid during the pendency of the divorce;
  • The age and health of the parties, considering significant health care needs;
  • Significant economic or noneconomic contribution to the marriage or to the economic, education, or occupational advancement of a party;

The amount of support can be negotiated and agreed upon by the parties involved as long as it is not unconscionable. Additionally, maintenance can always be waived, and a party can use the waiver of alimony as a bargaining tool to receive a particular marital asset or some other benefit.

Duration of Marriage and Its Impact on Alimony Awards

Marriages of less than three years generally do not have maintenance awards. For marriages greater than three years, there is a sliding scale relative to the length of the marriage that determines how long maintenance is given. For those marriages greater than 20 years, there is no set formula, rather it is within the discretion of the Court to determine a length of time where maintenance may be paid.

Modifying Alimony: Adapting to Life Changes

Maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis and ends upon death, remarriage, or as otherwise agreed. However, if one spouse experienced significant changes in circumstances relating to income, they may petition the court to modify their existing alimony agreement.

When Does Alimony End?

In Colorado, the termination of alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, depends on various factors. Here are the typical circumstances under which alimony ends in the state:

  • End of the Term: Alimony is often awarded for a specified duration. Once this period ends, the obligation to pay alimony ceases.
  • Remarriage: If the recipient spouse remarries, alimony generally ends. The paying spouse must usually petition the court to terminate the payments, providing proof of the remarriage.
  • Cohabitation: Alimony can end if the recipient begins cohabitating with another person in a romantic relationship. This is not automatic and typically requires the paying spouse to file a motion and provide evidence of cohabitation.
  • Death: Alimony payments end upon the death of either the paying spouse or the recipient spouse.
  • Court Order: Alimony can be modified or terminated by court order. This can occur if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a substantial change in either party's financial situation.
  • Agreement Between Parties: The parties involved can agree to terminate alimony. This agreement must be approved by the court.
  • Full Payment: In cases where a lump-sum alimony is awarded or an agreed-upon amount is paid in full, the obligation ends upon completion of the payment.

Can Alimony be Waived in a Prenuptial Agreement in Colorado?

Yes, alimony can be waived in a prenuptial agreement in Colorado, provided that the agreement meets certain legal standards. For the waiver to be enforceable, the prenuptial agreement must be entered into voluntarily by both parties, with full disclosure of each party’s financial circumstances. Both parties should also have had the opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel. If these conditions are met, the court is likely to uphold the waiver of alimony unless enforcing it would cause significant hardship to one party.

How Does Spousal Maintenance Affect Taxes?

As of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, for divorce agreements executed after December 31, 2018, alimony payments are no longer tax-deductible for the paying spouse, and the recipient spouse does not need to report the payments as taxable income. This change affects how both parties might approach negotiations and settlements regarding alimony, as the tax implications can no longer be used as a bargaining tool in the same way they were before this legislative change.

What Happens if a Spouse Does Not Pay Court-Ordered Spousal Support?

If a spouse fails to pay court-ordered alimony in Colorado, the recipient spouse can take legal action to enforce the order. This might include filing a motion for contempt of court, which can result in penalties for the non-compliant spouse, including fines and even jail time. Additionally, the court may order wage garnishment, where the alimony payments are directly deducted from the paying spouse’s paycheck. It is essential for both parties to adhere to court orders to avoid legal complications and additional expenses.

The Harris Law Firm: Your Ally in Colorado Alimony Cases

The Colorado alimony attorneys at The Harris Law Firm have over 250 years of combined experience, are skilled negotiators, and have a sound understanding of how maintenance is calculated in Colorado. Our grasp of family law and spousal support makes us an invaluable resource to any spouse filing for divorce.

Get started on your case today by calling our firm at (303) 622-5502. Our attorneys are ready to provide you with wise counsel.

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Since 1993, our commitment has been to provide the best possible client outcomes through compassionate and effective representation. If you are facing a divorce or related family law matter, estate planning or tax issue, please contact our helpful, compassionate, and understanding attorneys to request a legal evaluation or you can submit your information to ask a legal question. We look forward to helping you!

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