Minor children are not the only parties who may receive court-ordered financial support during and after a divorce or legal separation. Depending on the circumstances, a higher-earning individual may be required to provide financial support to their former spouse as well, either for a specific period of time or—in rare cases—indefinitely.
Whether you are being asked to pay alimony to a former partner or want to pursue support yourself, you may need help from a Greeley spousal support lawyer to effectively pursue your preferred outcome. Assistance from an experienced family attorney could be crucial not only to presenting your case in as much convincing detail as possible, but also to ensuring that emotional conflicts do not affect your ability to seek the support arrangement you need.
As the state legislature recognizes in Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-114(1), it is often impossible to equitably separate the financial lives of divorcing spouses through property and asset division alone. In order to ensure that both parties can maintain the same standard of living after they separate that they had during their marriage, it may be necessarily to compel one party to provide maintenance to the other.
Generally, spousal maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—is provided when one party to a divorce was the primary breadwinner in the relationship. Accordingly, it is generally meant to support the lesser-earning spouse until they can seek enough education or job training to support themselves. However, there are exceptions to this rule of thumb that—if applicable to a particular situation—a Greeley alimony attorney could explain in further detail.
C.R.S. §14-10-114 establishes a number of rules and guidelines regarding how courts should make decisions regarding spousal support. Most notably, it outlines a basic formula that courts use to determine a baseline amount of support that a higher-earning party should pay per month to their lower-earning former partner—40 percent of the parties’ combined adjusted gross income per month, minus whatever adjusted gross income the lower-earning party has per month.
It is important to understand that this is just an advisory guideline, so courts will almost always deviate from this formula in order to ensure a fair and equitable arrangement for both parties. Additional factors that may play into the court’s decision in this regard—and which a spousal support lawyer in Greeley could advocate for or against—include the amount of marital property each party receives, each party’s reasonable financial needs, and the specific lifestyle the parties enjoyed while they were married.
Additionally, numerous factors can influence the duration for which a spousal support order lasts, the most significant of which is usually the duration of the marriage being dissolved. Marriages that lasted between three and 20 years may warrant alimony payments for anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the marriage’s duration, while marriages of over 20 years may justify a permanent spousal support order.
It is far from uncommon for spouses seeking a divorce to have differing incomes and earning capacities after they separate, and Colorado state law goes to great lengths to establish how courts should enforce one former spouse financially supporting another. Unfortunately, state law intentionally provides a great deal of leeway to courts deciding on this particular issue, and without skilled legal representation, you could end up with an arrangement that does not meet your needs or desires.
Instead of leaving your financial future up to chance, consider retaining help from a qualified Greeley spousal support lawyer. Call today to find out how a legal professional could advocate for your best interests in your unique circumstances.