Alimony, Maintenance & Spousal Support
Alimony is referred to as maintenance in Colorado. Maintenance ensures that the basic needs of the disadvantaged spouse are financially met following a divorce. Alimony, or maintenance, is not automatically granted post-divorce. Maintenance is only implemented when there is no other feasible source for the spouse’s needs to be met. It is by no means mandatory or non-negotiable like many people assume. Maintenance may sometimes to be referred to as spousal support.
There are two phases in which alimony is awarded – temporary and permanent. Temporary alimony is alimony paid during the process of divorce, or in other words, before the divorce is final. The second phase, permanent alimony, does not necessarily mean that alimony will or must be paid forever. It simply means it is the alimony that was agreed upon in the final divorce agreement.
How is temporary alimony calculated?
One of the ways temporary alimony is calculated is by what is called presumptive alimony. This calculation is used when there is a combined income of less than $75,000. The court will take 40% of the higher income spouse’s income and subtract 50% of the lower income spouse’s income. If the outcome is equal to or less than zero, then no alimony is required. If the outcome is anything higher than zero, that is the amount of presumptive alimony.
What if the combined income is greater than $75,000?
When dealing with a combined income of over $75,000, the court will look at a number of factors such as:
The financial resources of the party seeking alimony, including marital property apportioned to such party, and the party’s ability to meet his or her needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party
The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment and that party’s future earning capacity
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking alimony; and
- The ability of the spouse from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking alimony
What if one spouse was not earning an income?
In the event that one spouse was not earning an income, such as being a homemaker, it will further complicate allocating alimony. Again, a number of factors will come into play in the event that only one party was making money. The court will decide whether to impute a minimum wage award to the spouse or to a higher income. The court would decide to impute a higher income for purposes such as establishing alimony, or a maintenance award.
Does alimony affect taxes at all?
Yes. The tax burden will shift from the spouse paying the alimony to the spouse receiving the alimony. This is not applicable to child support, but solely maintenance awards.
What if the divorce was because one spouse cheated? Will that increase or change the alimony amount at all?
No. Colorado statute clearly states, in regard to calculating maintenance awards, that it be considered and calculated “without regard to marital misconduct.”
Does it matter how long the marriage lasted?
In fact, yes. The state of Colorado does take the duration of marriage into consideration. Alimony, or maintenance, may increase with the number of months married. The only duration the court does not create non-binding maintenance for is a marriage that is less than 3 years or more than 20. In some cases, marriages of less than 3 years may not require any maintenance at all. The calculation for months of marriage and months of maintenance required can be confusing. It is best to sit down with an experienced attorney to decipher the amount that you are owed or that you may owe.
Is maintenance ever revoked?
Yes. In the event that one spouse dies, then alimony is no longer required. Also, if the spouse that is receiving the maintenance were to remarry, then the maintenance is no longer required.
Contact Denver Divorce Lawyer Jarrett J. Benson
If you are dealing with a divorce or need help calculating and/or receiving alimony in the state of Colorado, contact Jarrett J. Benson today. An attorney with respect and knowledge of the court, Mr. Benson will help you receive the best possible outcome for your case. If you need guidance on how much maintenance you should be awarded, do not hesitate to contact us. Denver’s best lawyers, at the Law Offices of Jarrett J. Benson, are here to help.