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The awarding of spousal maintenance in Colorado

| Sep 7, 2020 | divorce

When preparing to go through the divorce process, it is normal to wonder what kind of settlement terms you may end up walking away with. You want to make sure they serve your best interests and are fair, but, your idea of fair and your soon-to-be ex’s may be very different. For example, the awarding of spousal maintenance is fairly common in the state of Colorado. However, you and your ex may not agree on how much support is appropriate.

Thankfully, when it comes to spousal maintenance, the state has set certain guidelines to ensure the amount of support granted is appropriate — if granted at all. There are several factors the court will look at when determining if alimony is needed, how much and for how long.

Who qualifies for spousal maintenance?

Generally, financial need plays a big role in determining if alimony is appropriate in your case. To identify if a need exists, the court will look at:

  • Each spouse’s income
  • Other financial resources
  • The property division terms

After looking into the financials, the court will also want to know how long the marriage lasted. Currently, the law says the marriage must have lasted for a minimum of 36 months to qualify for some level of temporary spousal support.

How are the support terms set?

If a couple’s combined income is less than $75,000 per year, there is a set formula for how much support the court can award. If your combined yearly income is over that amount, it is possible to look beyond financial need and the length of the marriage when setting support terms. The court will look at:

  • Marital lifestyle
  • Age of both parties
  • The health of both parties
  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage — financial or otherwise

There is not a specific base amount set for spousal support. Every couple’s situation is unique and needs to be treated as such.

Duration of support

In Colorado, the court typically grants spousal support on a temporary basis — payable from anywhere between 11 months to 10 years. The duration of the marriage is the main factor considered when determining how long one should receive support. Permanent alimony is rare but is possible to receive if the marriage lasted over 20 years.

Fight for a fair maintenance order

Whether you are on the paying or receiving end of a spousal maintenance order, you want to make sure it is fair. You do not want to end up paying more than you should have to or walking away with less than you are due. With assistance, you can fight for a support order that best serves your situation.