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Can Alimony Be Modified in Colorado?

Alimony, called maintenance in Colorado, can be a major point of contention in a divorce handled by specialized divorce lawyers in Denver. Maintenance payments are typically meant to bridge a financial gap between divorcing spouses and allow the lesser-earning spouse an opportunity to become financially independent.

For example, if one spouse leaves the workforce to rear children, alimony payments may allow that spouse a chance to further their education and expand their employment opportunities. Alimony may be a temporary award paid for the pendency of the divorce. 

A Maintenance award can also be entered in connection with the Permanent Orders (or final orders) in the divorce and start at the termination of the marriage. Although sometimes called “permanent,” rarely is alimony a lifetime award. 

An alimony may or may not be modifiable in Colorado. It depends first on whether an original alimony order precluded or limited modification. If modification is not prohibited by the order it will depend on whether the circumstances of either or both parties have changed substantially enough to warrant a modification.

The Original Alimony Order

To determine if a maintenance order is modifiable, an ex-spouse must review the language of their original. If the court entered an order for periodic maintenance payments on their behalf, the order is likely to be modifiable.

The court cannot order non-modifiable periodic spousal maintenance payments in a divorce. However, the court can sign a non-modifiable alimony agreement into a court order when one is presented by the parties.

Therefore, if the former spouses came to a mutually acceptable alimony agreement, the final order may or may not be modifiable. It depends on their agreement terms at the time of the order.

Non-modifiable spousal maintenance is contractual and binding. It may not be increased or reduced by petition of either party regardless of the circumstances. 

Non-modifiable spousal maintenance typically ends upon the recipient spouse’s remarriage unless there is specific language to the contrary. It also terminates upon the death of either the payor or the recipient spouse.

Requesting a Modification of Spousal Maintenance in Colorado

When an alimony order is modifiable, the party requesting a modification must prove a significant and continuing change in circumstances exists, making the initial agreement or order unfair. Otherwise, the court will not entertain any changes. 

Examples of the types of substantial and continuing changes the court may consider include: 

  • A substantial increase or decrease in income;
  • Receipt of a financial windfall such as an inheritance or lottery winning
  • Retirement at normal retirement age for the particular occupation or profession
  • The onset of a permanent illness or disability.

Either party, not just the payor, may file for a modification of spousal maintenance. 

Are There Benefits to Non-Modifiable Spousal Maintenance?

Alimony modifications in Colorado can considerably impact both the payee and the recipient spouse, as either party may request a modification in their favor. Non-modifiable alimony may benefit some spouses upon divorce to avoid repeat court appearances as their circumstances fluctuate. That certainty as to the amount and duration of the payments can be a benefit to both parties in some instances. 

This could result in future cost and time savings for both spouses. For more information about non-modifiable spousal maintenance and a personalized alimony consultation, contact an experienced Denver family law attorney today.

Contact an Experienced Denver Alimony Attorney Today

Be clear on your legal options before approaching your ex-spouse with an alimony matter. Call an experienced Denver spousal maintenance attorney at Hogan Omidi, PC, today. 

Hogan Omidi, PC, can guide you through your alimony case while protecting your assets. Our attorneys will help you make decisions to serve you now and in the future.

Do not wait to schedule a confidential consultation with Hogan Omidi, PC. Our attorneys serve clients throughout the Denver metro and statewide.

At Hogan Omidi, PC, we “wrote the book” on Colorado family law.