Colorado Alimony Attorney
What is the Purpose of Alimony or Spousal Support?
Alimony, sometimes referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is payment from one spouse to another that goes toward maintaining the well-being of a dependent spouse after a divorce. The payment can be in the form of a lump sum, but it is commonly paid in periodic installments.
The general principle behind alimony is that divorce should not impoverish either spouse. Alimony’s purpose is to help each spouse maintain the same lifestyle they enjoyed during the marriage. Temporary maintenance can be paid while a divorce is pending, while permanent alimony is paid after the divorce.
To ensure that you pay or receive a fair amount of spousal support, we suggest enlisting the assistance of an experienced alimony lawyer in Colorado at The Harris Law Firm in Denver.
When Is Alimony Awarded in Colorado Divorce?
The "threshold requirements" to qualify for spousal support in Colorado are:
- The spouse does not have the means to provide for his or her reasonable needs
- The spouse is unable to support themselves through appropriate employment
Once that standard is met, the court will also consider factors that include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and physical condition of the party seeking maintenance
- The financial and non-financial contribution of each party to the marriage
- The ability of the dependent spouse to obtain education or training
- The ability of the non-dependent party to pay maintenance
- The standard of living of the parties during the marriage
The amount of support can be negotiated and agreed upon by the parties involved as long as it is not unconscionable. Additionally, alimony 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. Maintenance usually ranges from three to five years, but is dependent on the above-noted factors and can vary significantly.
Alimony ends upon death or remarriage unless otherwise stated in the final orders. Similarly, if alimony is to end upon cohabitation, rather than remarriage, the agreement must specify this.
How is Spousal Support Calculated in Colorado?
Alimony is not optional once it is ordered by the court—once it is set, it must be paid.
Colorado does not have a statutory calculation for permanent support. However, if the couple's joint income is less than $75,000/year, Colorado does have a temporary support calculation.
The formula for calculating alimony is as follows:
40% of higher earner’s monthly gross income – 50% of lower earner’s monthly gross income
By using this approach, Colorado courts have a more consistent approach to maintenance. This system was put into place in January of 2014 as the first time the state has had a maintenance formula. There are some exceptions to the matter and there may be a cap regarding the maintenance amount.
Courts will typically subtract from the gross income any spousal or child support that already exists outside of the current marriage. For couples with combined incomes over $75,000, temporary alimony agreements can be set by the court as well. Deviation from the formula is also possible.
How Can Alimony / Maintenance Affect Me?
Good alimony agreements are ideally mutually agreed upon, and ensure that no spouse suffers financially from a divorce. It is important to remember that alimony is not punitive—the idea is to create two financially-stable households out of one. However, without good legal representation, alimony agreements can range from overbearing to negligible, neither of which helps bring peace to a divorce.
The Harris Law Firm Difference
The spousal support attorneys at The Harris Law Firm have over 250 years of combined experience, are skilled negotiators, and have a strong understanding of how alimony is calculated in Colorado. Our grasp of family law and spousal support makes us an invaluable resource to any spouse filing for divorce.
Our lawyers are skilled at “discovery,” the practice of uncovering assets and investigating during a divorce. We can ensure maximum fairness for both parties. More importantly, we can make sure our client receives what he or she needs in an alimony agreement, either as the paying or recipient spouse.
Do you need help navigating the complex process of alimony agreements? Call The Harris Law Firm today at (303) 622-5502 to have any legal question answered at no cost to you.