Determining Alimony in Colorado
Alimony in Colorado strives to ensure the lower-earning spouse doesn’t become destitute during or after a divorce. Neither spouse has an automatic entitlement to maintenance unless they both agree. The court is responsible for evaluating and calculating the award depending on the facts the couple presents to the court.
If you still have questions regarding the determination of alimony after reading this guide, contact Combs & Brown for further consultation.
Factors to Consider in Determining Alimony
In Colorado, a family law judge determines if spousal support is appropriate, the amount payable, and how long the paying party should pay. According to statute CRS 14-10-114, one party must request maintenance after separation, divorce, and annulment as grounds for the court to determine alimony.
The court calculates the amount depending on each party’s gross income, financial resources, marital property, and the likely financial need established during the marriage.
The court uses a formula to determine the alimony payments. Here’s how it works.
- Calculate 40% of the higher-earning spouse’s monthly gross income
- Calculate 50% of the lower-earning spouse’s monthly gross income
- Subtract the first figure from the second one
As long as the figure is positive, the calculation continues. The party eligible for alimony receives up to 40% of the spouse’s adjusted gross income.
Other factors that come into play are:
- The marriage lifestyle
- Each party’s health and age
- Each party’s employment and employability
- The division of marital property
- Both parties’ financial resources
- The significant economic and non-economic contributions of each party to the marriage
How long a spouse receives alimony depends on the number of months in that marriage. For a marriage that lasts three years, the period of maintenance is 11 months. The period increases to 10 years for a union lasting 20 years.
The court maintains discretion for marriages that last more than 20 years. In some cases of long-term marriages, the court can grant alimony for life, only to rescind it upon death or remarriage of the recipient.
You must have been married for at least three years to be eligible for alimony from these factors. The formula doesn’t account for each court’s way of doing things, and what you think will happen may not happen.
That’s why it’s ideal to have a family lawyer from Combs & Brown argue out your case for a better alimony amount. Get in touch with our team today for a case assessment.
Modifications to Previously Awarded Alimonies in Colorado
It’s essential to remember that even a permanent alimony award in Colorado is revocable. A court can modify an alimony award if substantial changes in circumstances happen. Specific events that can contribute to alimony modifications include:
- A significant increase in the recipient’s income
- A considerable decrease in the recipient’s financial needs due to reasons like cohabitation
- Remarriage, cohabitation, or death of the supported party leads to automatic termination of spousal maintenance in Colorado. A couple’s written agreement or maintenance order might make spousal support continue after remarriage in exceptional circumstances.
In the absence of a written agreement, the paying spouse can stop making payments from the date of the recipient’s marriage. It doesn’t require the couple to go back to court.
Do You Need Help with Alimony in Colorado?
The determination of alimony in Colorado follows the statutory guidelines, but the courts have no obligation to adhere to them strictly. Judges have discretion in this area to determine the amount and term they deem appropriate for spousal maintenance. It’s not as simple as affixing figures into a given formula.
The amount of alimony is usually a source of conflict among many couples in the divorce process. Judges treat each case separately, and the final determination accounts for the facts you present in court. For a clear picture of what to expect in your alimony determination case, let a family lawyer help you. Contact Combs & Brown to schedule a consultation in Colorado today.