One of the most important aspects of divorces and legal separation that Colorado courts focus on is ensuring that both parties can maintain a comparable standard, to the extent possible, of living after they separate that they had while they were together. To that end, many such proceedings include a court order for the higher-earning party to provide a certain amount of financial support per month to the lower-earning party.
Spousal maintenance—also known as alimony and spousal support—can be a controversial element of many divorces, so it is usually wise to seek guidance from a divorce attorney if it is going to be a factor in yours. Whether you want to pursue financial support from your former spouse or contest how much you should have to pay them yourself, a Greenwood Village spousal support lawyer could help you pursue an optimal outcome for your situation.
Typically, courts in Colorado only award spousal support in divorces that occur after the parties involved have been married for at least three years. Other factors the court may consider when deciding whether to award spousal maintenance include each spouse’s current income, financial and physical assets allocated as part of the divorce, whether a party has separate property (non-marital) assets, each spouse’s presumptive ability to earn income in the future, the lifestyle both parties enjoyed during their marriage, and the number of years the marriage lasted.
Among various other guidelines regarding spousal maintenance, Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-114 establishes a formula that courts use to provide guidance for support payments. However, the calculation can change significantly based on numerous factors, including the total value of both parties’ combined income, the duration of the marriage, and whether either party already pays or receives maintenance from another previous marriage. Based on an individual’s unique circumstances, a Greenwood Village spousal maintenance attorney could help determine what amount of support they may owe or be owed.
In many cases, courts will order temporary support to be paid by a higher-earning spouse to a lower-earning spouse while their divorce proceedings are ongoing. This temporary support is meant to ensure the lower-earning party can remain financially stable until a more permanent support order is established.
The most common form of spousal support Colorado courts enforce is called rehabilitative maintenance, as it is meant to provide support to a lower-earning spouse until they can finish job or career training, reenter the workforce, and become self-sufficient. In a similar vein, support may be appropriate in situations where one party to a dissolved marriage paid for the other’s job or career training, had to forego advancement of his or her career to raise children and has yet to be able to support themselves.
Permanent spousal maintenance is reserved only for situations in which the lower-earning party is incapable of ever becoming self-sufficient due to factors such as age or disability, but it typically depends on the duration of the marriage and it comes into play in rare situations. Talking with a local spousal support lawyer could help clarify which type of maintenance may best suit a particular set of circumstances.
If one person in your marriage was the primary breadwinner of the household, you can expect divorce proceedings to include a discussion about spousal support. While there are general formulas and rules for how these payments should be determined in Colorado, each situation is unique, and the support you are expected to provide or receive may vary wildly depending on your circumstances and those of your soon-to-be former spouse.
Interpreting state law and negotiating with court officials can be hard for anyone to manage alone—and fortunately, you do not have to. Call today to speak with a Greenwood Village spousal support lawyer about your case and get professional help pursuing a mutually agreeable support arrangement.