In Colorado divorce, annulment and legal separation cases, a family law judge determines whether to award alimony, or maintenance, to one spouse.
Maintenance is intended to help a spouse who does not have adequate property or income to provide for individual reasonable needs and is unable to provide self-support through employment. Colorado has no current law that provides for an automatic right to maintenance or alimony, even in cases where one party needs it. Instead, the family court will take into account several factors delineated in C.R.S. 14-10-114, including the standard of living prior to the marriage and the other party’s ability to pay before determining whether maintenance is appropriate under the state laws.
Typically, the longer the duration of the marriage, the more likely it will be that the court will award alimony. However, no set formula exists for determining the amount, and spouses married a short time may not receive alimony upon divorce in the state of Colorado. Alternatively, a spouse in a long-term marriage, generally over 20 years, may receive an award of lifetime alimony. Maintenance ends by the death or remarriage of one party.
Colorado Family Law Attorney
Colorado law provides for temporary alimony in cases where to combined gross yearly income is less than $75,000. Unless one party presents evidence showing that a different amount of maintenance is warranted, a judge will issue temporary orders for alimony equal to 40 percent of the higher wage earner’s gross income on a monthly basis less 50 percent of the lower wage earner’s monthly income. This formula applies in any Colorado alimony case despite the duration of the marriage.
For instance, if Jan earns $4,000 gross monthly income, and Chris earns $1,500 monthly, then Chris would receive $850 in temporary maintenance per month ($1,600 less $750), until the permanent alimony orders are issued.
For couples who earned higher than $75,000 annually, Colorado does not have a preset formula for determining temporary alimony. Rather, the family courts utilize the factors used for post-dissolution maintenance. While this results in less predictability, some Colorado family courts still utilize the 40 percent less 50 percent method as a foundational point, although some judges disregard that formula.
Work with Attorney Kirk Garner
Attorney Kirk Garner has practiced family law for over 19 years, and his law office serves the Teller and El Paso counties in Southern Colorado. For experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate legal representation, contact the Law Offices of Kirk Garner for a confidential consultation.