ALIMONY IN COLORADO
Spousal Maintenance & Alimony Attorney in Denver
If you are in the process of a divorce, you likely have several questions running through your head. One of these might be about alimony and how it applies in the state of Colorado. Our experienced divorce attorneys are here to help you as much as we can. We want you to know your rights as you go through the divorce process. That’s why we’re here to answer your frequently asked questions regarding alimony in Colorado.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is a type of financial support that is awarded from one spouse to the other in a divorce. This support is awarded under the premise that one spouse is unable to support themselves following the divorce. It’s based on the understanding that one spouse is generally financially dependent on the other in a marriage. If you’re the higher earning spouse, you will likely be ordered to pay alimony in the event of a divorce.
Alimony is determined by two factors: one spouse’s ability to provide and the other’s lack of assets. Payments can be made in the form of one lump sum or over a certain period of time.
Is Colorado an Alimony-Friendly State?
Colorado is an alimony-friendly state. This means that courts in Colorado are able to review a divorce case and award alimony as they see fit.
In order to divorce in Colorado, you must have been legally separated for 91 days. But to receive alimony, you need to have years of marriage behind you. Most states require at least 10 years of marriage. In Colorado, though, you need to have been married for at least three years to receive alimony.
What’s the Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support?
Alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance all refer to the same thing. The state of Colorado technically goes by the term spousal maintenance. Whatever you choose to call it, it means the same thing across the board. A lawyer will know what you mean by saying any version of the three.
Are There Difference Types of Alimony?
There are, in fact, different types of alimony. The state of Colorado recognizes four. These are temporary, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and permanent alimony.
How is Alimony Determined in Colorado?
The purpose of alimony is to provide both reasonable and necessary support. The person seeking alimony must be able to prove to the court that he or she needs the financial support. They must also be able to prove that their spouse has the means to give it.
It is up to the court to determine whether either spouse is eligible for alimony. The judge will determine the type of alimony, how much is expected to be paid, and for how long.
There are several factors that the judge will take into consideration. Some of these include:
- Length of the marriage
- Income of each party
- Age of each party
- Physical health of each party
- How the marital property was distributed
- Financial resources of each party and their contribution to the marriage
- Financial lifestyle that was established by the marriage
- Potential employability of each party
If children are in the picture, that fact will also be considered.
Once these factors are considered, the judge must determine an appropriate amount. A specific formula is used to determine the alimony awarded in Colorado.
40% of higher income earner’s monthly gross income-50% of lower income earner’s monthly gross income=Alimony amount
How Long Does Alimony Last in Colorado?
Just as the amount awarded in alimony depends on the circumstances, so does the length of time. If it is reimbursement, it will generally last until the spouse has paid their dues off. For rehabilitative, the alimony will last until the receiving spouse is able to get back on their own feet and provide for themselves.
Alimony will also cease if either spouse dies. If the receiving spouse remarries, that is also a means for alimony to cease.
Unless otherwise specified by the judge, alimony may also last until the paying spouse reaches “full retirement age.”
What is Spousal Maintenance?
In Colorado, the award of alimony (called “maintenance”) during divorce proceedings is based on many factors. A husband and wife can resolve this issue using divorce lawyers to negotiate the many aspects of maintenance: the amount, the duration, whether and how the payments will be able to be modified in the future, to name a few.
The concept of alimony is to provide financial support for a spouse that is unable to afford to care for himself or herself. Some of the factors that are considered in determining the right to maintenance are the duration of the marriage, the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, and the property being awarded to each spouse. A judge may look at other factors as well.
Types of Alimony in Colorado
The state of Colorado recognizes four types of alimony: These are temporary, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and permanent alimony.
Temporary alimony is sometimes called separation alimony. This occurs when a spouse requests maintenance while the divorce is still pending. This lasts until the divorce is final. At that point, whatever spousal support the judge awards becomes viable.
Rehabilitative is the most common form of alimony. This is financial support that is paid over a predicted amount of time until the receiver is able to support themselves. This may be until they gain the skills necessary for a job or become otherwise self-sufficient.
Reimbursement occurs when one spouse paid for the others self-advancement during the course of the marriage. This may have been job training or cost of schooling. In a reimbursement alimony order, the recipient of those funds is required to pay back their spouse over a period of time.
Many states have done away with the idea of permanent alimony. Not Colorado, though. Here, if you’ve been married for 20 years or longer or are elderly/disabled, you’re eligible to receive lifelong alimony.
Contact a Denver Divorce Lawyer for Complex Alimony Cases
When a spouse qualifies for a maintenance award, the spouse from whom maintenance is sought must also have the ability to meet his or her needs while having the ability to assist the other spouse.
When you are evaluating what role maintenance will play in the resolution of your divorce, a skilled Colorado family lawyer can assist you.