Colorado law explains how and when alimony or spousal support payments will be paid as part of a divorce case. Like other issues in a divorce, spousal support can be determined by the parties in the case. They may agree to waive alimony matters or to the terms and amount of spousal support payments. When they don’t, the court will intervene to make a decision on the matter.
Whether you are requesting or being asked to pay spousal support in a divorce case, here is what you need to know about alimony in Colorado.
There are no guarantees regarding alimony; in other words, no one is automatically entitled to or obligated to pay spousal support just because a divorce is occurring. Instead, case-specific factors will dictate whether and when alimony payments are an element of a divorce case.
Here, it’s crucial to understand that:
The court will consider many factors when deciding:
Specific factors that the court considers when making these determinations include (but are not limited to):
Additionally, the court must answer questions, like (but not exclusive to):
When the court determines that spousal support should be awarded in a Colorado divorce case, a complex formula will be used to figure out the amount of those payments.
Despite the mandates that Colorado law has regarding spousal support, judges have plenty of discretion in these cases. In other words, family court judges have the authority to assess details of the case—including things outside the bounds of alimony formulas and typical spousal support factors—and make decisions regarding the amounts and duration of spousal support payments.
For divorcing parties, that means there is room to present evidence and arguments, beyond the standard factors. It also provides an opportunity to seek rulings and awards that better fit the circumstances of a case.
Nominal maintenance may be awarded when the bread-winning spouse is not earning what (s)he typically does. This has become a central focus in many divorce cases occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic when several people have found themselves unemployed or with reduced income. Like other forms of spousal support, nominal alimony may be modifiable in the future, as life and financial circumstances evolve.
Spousal support in Colorado can be modifiable when there has been a material change in circumstances. Specifically, the payor is unable to pay spousal support for certain reasons, the court will consider requests to modify these payments. For example, if the payor has been laid off or fired, the courts may modify alimony. However, if the payor has intentionally walked away from a job and is not making any effort to secure new employment, alimony orders may stand.
On both sides of the alimony issue, things can be complex and sensitive, both a divorce first occurs and in the years after when modification requests arise.
No matter what side of the issue you’re on—and regardless of whether alimony issues arise in or after divorce—you can rely on a 5-star Fort Collins alimony lawyer at The Cossitt Law Firm, LLC for exceptional representation and experienced counsel. We are ready to answer your questions about spousal support and advise you on your best options for proceeding.
Call (970) 488-1887 for a free, 100% confidential consultation from an experienced attorney.
This calculator is based on the new 2019 Colorado maintenance guideline. Many additional factors will be considered by the Court when determining if an award of maintenance is warranted.
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