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Maintenance / Alimony

Denver Divorce Attorney - AlimonyAlimony,  also known as “spousal maintenance,” is arguably the most disagreeable aspect of a divorce, and also one of the most complicated, but in many cases there is  no way around it. Fortunately, Colorado courts have found ways to make the fairest decisions possible, if you have the right representation. Colorado distinguishes between two types of maintenance: temporary maintenance and permanent maintenance.

Temporary maintenance is a provisional alimony that is administered to a spouse during the period of time in which the divorce passes through the courts, in order that the spouse with lower income not undergo undue economic hardship during that difficult period. The courts further divide temporary maintenance into two other categories: couples whose annual gross income is $75,000 or below, and those whose gross family income is more than $75,000. For those couples with incomes $75,000 or below, a simple formula is applied: take 40%  of the monthly income of the spouse with the greater income, and subtract 50% of the income of the monthly income of the spouse with the lesser income. If the final figure is zero or below zero, no award is made.

  • Example: one spouse makes $5000 a month and the other makes $3000 a month. 40% of $5000 is $2000, and 50% of $3000 is $1500. Subtracting those leaves $500, which is the amount awarded to the spouse with the lesser income.

We will note that this may not seem perfectly equitable, and it’s not supposed to be. It is only a temporary measure to ease the intrinsically difficult economic transitions that occur during a divorce. Also keep in mind that either spouse may rebut the amount if they feel the figure is unfair. For those with incomes over $75,000, there are no set guidelines. The judge may choose to use the less than $75,000 income guidelines, or may use guidelines that are commonly used in awarding permanent maintenance.

Permanent maintenance is the term used for alimony that is paid after the divorce has been granted. Permanent maintenance is not as common as it was years ago, but if the couple has been married a long time, or the requesting spouse is not able to work for one reason or another, the courts will provide it where necessary. There are two main conditions things which factor into a judge’s awarding permanent alimony:

  • The spouse asking for alimony must demonstrate that they do not have the assets necessary to provide for their needs
  • and that their income is insufficient for maintaining their current standard of living.

Once is has been determined that the party is entitled to alimony, other factors must be examined,  like the length of the marriage, the ex-spouses’ ages, whether they can receive vocational training, and the ability of the other party pay. However, the legal code for Colorado alimony is lengthy and there can be many complications. Large alimony payments can effect your finances for years. Van Der Jagt Law Firm is a Denver divorce attorney that can make sure you don’t pay more than you need.