Colorado Spousal Maintenance or Alimony – by Marc Patoile
In a Colorado divorce, legal separation or annulment case, one issue that needs to be considered is whether one spouse will receive spousal maintenance or what we used to refer to as alimony. Each state has its own unique laws governing maintenance or alimony, so don’t rely on a friend’s advice, as it is frequently based upon a different state’s laws or the friend’s unique situation which is probably not exactly the same as your situation. Contact a seasoned Colorado spousal maintenance attorney today at 303-688-3045 to see how we can assist you.
Some people often refer to spousal maintenance as “spousal support”which is actually a different term that the military uses for support of a service member’s family, so if you are in the military there are also those factors to consider as well. Our firm has a retired J.A.G. Colonel to assist us in navigating those complex issues as well.
Spousal maintenance in Colorado is intended to assist a spouse who lacks sufficient property to provide for his/her reasonable needs, and is unable to support himself/herself through employment. The judge has wide discretion when it comes to Colorado spousal maintenance, so you want a seasoned lawyer’s advice on the matter, one that knows that players and the courts. A Colorado divorce court will look at a number of factors set out in C.R.S. 14-10-114, which include, as some of the more important factors, the parties’ standard of living before the marriage and the other spouse’s ability to pay spousal maintenance.
Both the amount of maintenance and the duration of maintenance are subject to the discretion of the court in Colorado. However, maintenance in Colorado is terminated by the death of either party, or the remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony. Yet, there are other factors to consider, such as life insurance, cohabitation of the former spouse with another, and other complex issues.
In general, at the time of writing, Colorado divorce law sets out the factors to consider when determining an award, including the following:
(a) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, 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;
(b) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and that party’s future earning capacity;
(c) The standard of living established during the marriage;
(d) The duration of the marriage;
(e) The age and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
(f) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
Colorado divorce law is consistently no-fault. C.R.S. 14-10-114(4) requires that maintenance be determined “without regard to marital misconduct.” However, there are a number of other things that may sound related such as unemployed spouses, voluntarily unemployed spouses, spouses recently enrolled in college or other courses, etc.
Resolving all of these issues is often difficult. Spousal maintenance is often the most contested issue in a dissolution case as it is often one of the most costly for one party and vital issues for the other party. Some cases may involve the need for vocational assessment to determine a spouse’s potential income. Other cases may need an expert to determine how the proposed spousal maintenance, assets and any other retirement will play out for both parties in the future. And, yet still others, may require forensic accounts and business evaluators to determine one spouse’s income or potential income.
Call our seasoned Colorado divorce attorneys today for a free telephone consultation on your high net worth divorce issues at 303-688-3045.