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Three Things You Need to Know about Spousal Maintenance in Colorado

One of the most important considerations individuals have when they are going through a divorce is spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony. Some people stay in an unhappy marriage because they are concerned they will not receive enough financial support to survive living a separate life from their spouse. Others are concerned they will be ordered to provide financial support for their ex-spouse and the sacrifice will be too much to make ending the marriage worthwhile.

Luckily, there are several resources available to help you understand spousal maintenance, so you know what to expect, should you follow through with your divorce. And as always, an experienced attorney can answer specific questions about your circumstances.

What are three important things you should know about spousal maintenance in Colorado?

1. There are Two Types of Maintenance: Permanent and Temporary

Temporary maintenance is just as it sounds – awarded on a temporary basis. Temporary maintenance is awarded while the dissolution of marriage is pending and you are awaiting your Permanent Orders hearing and will terminate upon the entry of the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Maintenance awarded at the Permanent Orders hearing will begin upon the conclusion of the divorce proceedings and may be for a certain period of time or could be open-ended with no date certain as it when it will terminate.

2. There is a Formula for Determining Maintenance

Colorado courts use a formula to determine maintenance, so there is no risk that either spouse will be able to abuse requesting maintenance.

For more information read our previous blog post relating to this topic.

3. The Court Considers Specific Factors when Determining a Maintenance Award

Several issues will be considered when determining whether or not a spouse is entitled to maintenance. Regardless of the reason for a divorce, the court considers the following information listed in C.R.S. § 14-10-11(3)(a)(I) to determine maintenance:

(A)The amount of each party's gross income;
(B) The marital property apportioned to each party;
(C) The financial resources of each party, including but not limited to the actual or potential income from separate or marital property; and
(D) Reasonable financial need as established during the marriage.

The Court will also consider:

• The recipient’s ability to meet his or her needs independently;
• Lifestyle during the marriage;
• The income, employment, and employability of each spouse, as well as how custody of children affects these factors;
• Whether one spouse or the other historically earned higher or lower income other than at the time of ruling on the permanent order;
• Duration of the marriage;
• Details of the temporary maintenance award;
• Age and health of each spouse;
• Significant economic and non-economic contributions to the marriage;
• Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

Spousal maintenance can be one of the most highly contested issues in a divorce. If you are concerned or you have questions about maintenance in Colorado, contact Montgomery Little & Soran, PC at 303-773-8100.

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