Divorce in Colorado can be complicated – especially when it comes to paying or receiving alimony. When you divorce, the judge in your case will decide whether one spouse is entitled to receive maintenance payments. These payments are supposed to help a spouse provide for his or her basic needs when that spouse can’t provide for him- or herself through employment.
Whether you think you’re entitled to alimony or your spouse does, here’s what you need to know.
Divorce in Colorado: Alimony
Alimony is technically referred to as spousal maintenance in Colorado. And unlike child support, which the custodial parent is entitled to receive and goes toward kids’ expenses, not everyone is entitled to spousal maintenance.
Colorado law says that courts have to look at a handful of factors to determine whether one spouse should receive maintenance, including:
Each party’s financial resources
Tax implications of receiving or paying alimony
How long the couple was married
The standard of living established during the marriage
The age and physical condition of the spouse who wants maintenance
How long it would take for the asking spouse to get the education or training he or she needs to find employment
Use our simple alimony calculator to determine how much you’re likely to have to pay or how much you may be entitled to receive.
Why Do Courts Award Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is a form of temporary assistance. It gives the receiving spouse time to find a job or get training and education that will lead to a job so that he or she can become self-sufficient.
You and your spouse can agree to alimony on your own, provided that the courts find that your agreement is fair to both of you. Some couples even agree that one spouse will pay the other for a longer term than the court would’ve ordered.
What is Temporary Alimony in a Colorado Divorce?
Most spousal maintenance in Colorado is temporary – it only lasts for a certain period of time rather than a lifetime. (Even temporary alimony is sometimes referred to as permanent alimony. That term refers to spousal maintenance orders that extend beyond your divorce date, even if the alimony only changes hands for a few months or a few years.)
In many cases, a longer marriage means a longer duration of spousal maintenance payments.
What is Permanent Alimony in a Colorado Divorce?
Again, the courts refer to alimony that lasts past the date of your divorce as permanent alimony. However, there are some cases in which alimony truly is permanent – such as when one spouse is to ill to work or is too advanced in age to reasonably find work.
Who’s Eligible for Alimony in Colorado?
When you’re getting a divorce in Colorado, alimony isn’t a guarantee. Not everyone is eligible.
If a couple has a combined annual gross income of $75,000 or less, the court will use a specific formula to determine whether a person is financially eligible. The formula provides for payments to the lower-earning spouse.
If a couple has a combined annual gross income over $75,000, the court will only award spousal maintenance if the spouse asking for it:
Lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs
Is unable to become self-supporting through work or is serving as the custodian of a child that needs him or her
Does Fault Matter?
Fault doesn’t count when a court is determining spousal maintenance in Colorado. It doesn’t matter whose fault the divorce is – the judge in your case is only going to look at:
The financial resources of the person seeking maintenance (including what that person receives during property division and child support)
The maintenance-seeker’s future earning capacity
The standard of living established during the marriage
How long you were married
The seeking spouse’s age
The seeking spouse’s physical and emotional condition
The paying spouse’s ability to meet both spouse’s financial needs
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Divorce in Colorado and Alimony?
If you need to talk to an attorney about divorce in Colorado, alimony, child support or any other matter involving a split, we can help. Call us right now at 970-488-1887 for a free divorce case review – you can ask us your questions and we’ll get to know your situation so we can help you get the best possible outcome.
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