Spousal maintenance is a payment one former spouse pays the other after a divorce – but not everyone qualifies for it. For most people, it makes sense to work with a Fort Collins divorce attorney if you or your spouse intends to ask for this type of support.
Here’s what you need to know about spousal maintenance, whether you’ll have to pay it or whether you’ll be on the receiving end.
Commonly called alimony, the court awards spousal maintenance when the judge in a case feels as if it’s necessary to help one spouse when the other spouse can afford it.
Spousal maintenance isn’t an automatic thing. One party must request it from the court in order for the judge to consider it.
If a judge does order spousal maintenance, it can be paid over time on a monthly basis or in a lump sum. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how long someone will pay or receive alimony, either; the court evaluates spousal maintenance on a case-by-case basis. Usually, the timeframe has a lot to do with how long the marriage lasted and how long it would take for the receiving spouse to get on his or her feet and become self-sufficient.
Under Colorado law, it doesn’t matter who is at fault for the divorce. In fact, the law says, “An award of maintenance shall be in an amount and for a term that is fair and equitable to both parties and shall be made without regard to marital misconduct.”
That means your spousal maintenance award doesn’t hinge on whether one of you cheated, abandoned the family or did anything else that you may consider marital misconduct.
A judge decides whether spousal maintenance is appropriate based on several factors. The court will consider:
If one party can’t pay alimony, the judge is very unlikely to award it. (The court isn’t in the business of plunging people into debt.)
Colorado has specific maintenance guidelines that judges have to go by when they’re determining support amounts. However, the court will also consider the additional factors (more on that later) when it’s determining how much money will change hands for alimony.
Check out the Colorado spousal maintenance calculator now to estimate how much you’re likely to pay or receive.
When one party requests spousal maintenance, the court will need to know:
The formula itself can be a little confusing, which is why it’s helpful to use the maintenance calculator and talk to your divorce attorney about what you’re likely to pay or receive.
If you’re thinking about divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you. We can also help you ask the court for spousal maintenance if it’s necessary in your case.
Call us at 970-488-1887 for a free consultation with an experienced divorce attorney in Fort Collins right now. We’ll answer all your questions and explain spousal maintenance, property division, child custody and other aspects of divorce so you can get the peace of mind you deserve.
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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