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How is Alimony Calculated in a Colorado Divorce?

Alimony, or spousal support or maintenance, is a contentious topic in divorce. Spouses who reach an agreement on property division and child custody sometimes leave alimony for the court to resolve. 

This is understandable. From the standpoint of the person being asked to make the payments there is often both an emotional response as well as financial concern about the ability to fund their own expenses while making payments to the other party.  Similarly from the standpoint of the spouse seeking the payments there are often both emotional elements as well as considerations of future financial stability. The following article provides general information about how  maintenance is calculated in a Colorado divorce. 

If you are facing a Colorado divorce and need case-specific information about spousal maintenance awards, always speak with an experienced Denver divorce attorney.

For an in-depth review of Colorado’s statutes regarding spousal maintenance, please see C.R.S. 14-10-114

Alimony (Maintenance) in Colorado

What may be called Alimony in other states is referred to as Maintenance in Colorado. Maintenance is money awarded to one spouse during a divorce proceeding to assist that spouse with their monthly support needs in transitioning from a married to a single household.

The court does not automatically award spouses maintenance. The court must determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate on a case-by-case basis depending on both the financial need of the spouse seeking the payments and the financial ability of the person expected to make the payments.

Several factors go into a court’s initial maintenance determination. If the court chooses to award spousal maintenance, there are statutory guidelines for calculating a maintenance amount and term. However, those Guidelines, are not mandatory, and apply only up to certain income levels. 

Types of Maintenance in a Colorado Divorce

Spousal maintenance awards may be temporary, applying only while the divorce case is going on  or may provide for more long term post divorce payments,   A temporary award generally intended to meet basic financial needs while the other financial elements of the case are being  sorted out and ends upon the final divorce decree. 

A more long term award goes into effect at the final divorce decree and is part of the final divorce orders. It will be based on the post divorce asset division and other matters, not just what was necessary to keep everyone afloat before the assets could be divided. Maintenance awards entered at permanent orders may be for a fixed term, or for an indefinite term, remaining in effect unless and until there is a modification proceeding based on changed circumstances or a later event that terminates the obligation (like death or remarriage of the recipient). 

Maintenance Guidelines in Colorado

Advisory Maintenance Guidelines are in place to make awards more consistent. These guidelines apply to marriages from three to 20 years in length. The full guidelines chart is viewable here

The maintenance guidelines use  mathematical formulas to arrive at suggested monthly maintenance payment amounts and suggested durations. 

The guidelines are only a guide and the application of its calculations is not mandatory.  IN fact the resulting calculations may be inappropriate in many cases depending on the ages of the parties, the nature of the assets and liabilities being divided and other factors. The court has wide latitude in making spousal maintenance awards.

The best way to determine your spousal maintenance status is to have your case reviewed by an experienced Colorado divorce attorney. 

Contact an Experienced Colorado Divorce Attorney Today

Not all spousal maintenance awards are determined by the court. Spouses have the prerogative to make their own spousal maintenance agreements. 

If you are concerned about how spousal maintenance will affect your future finances, meet with an experienced Denver spousal support attorney at Hogan Omidi, PC. We can review your financial situation and help devise the best possible plan for your upcoming divorce.

Divorce is not one-size-fits-all. That is why Hogan Omidi, PC, specializes in individuals. Reach out to our Denver office today to schedule a consultation with a compassionate, knowledgeable divorce attorney.

At Hogan Omidi, PC, we “wrote the book” on Colorado family law. Let our Denver family law attorneys guide you through your Colorado divorce.