Calculating temporary alimony can be a contentious process.
In Part I of my series about alimony in Colorado (which you can read here), I discussed how alimony (officially called “maintenance”) is awarded as part of temporary orders while a divorce is pending. Specifically, that post dealt with the formula that is presumptively applied when the parties earn a combined annual income of $75,000 or less. In this post, I will continue with the discussion of temporary maintenance (that is, maintenance awarded before the divorce is final) for situations in which the spouses together earn more than $75,000 per year.
When the husband and wife’s combined annual income is greater than $75,000 per year, there is no presumptive formula or guideline for the court to apply. As such, the amount to be awarded is determined on a case-by-case basis. Each case is different, and different judges will calculate temporary alimony differently.
Step 1. Is a spouse eligible for temporary maintenance?
Temporary spousal maintenance is designed to equalize the finances until the divorce is final.
Alimony is a payment of money from one spouse to another for the purpose of financial support or equalization of incomes. In Colorado, alimony is technically called “spousal maintenance.” There are two kinds of spousal maintenance: temporary and permanent. Temporary maintenance is the payment of money from one spouse to the other before the marriage has been dissolved (i.e., before the divorce is final). Permanent maintenance–what most people think of when they hear the term “alimony”–is the payment of money from one former spouse to the other after divorce.
In this article, I will discuss temporary maintenance when the spouses earn a combined annual income of $75,000 or less. In future articles, I will discuss 1) temporary maintenance when combined annual income exceeds $75,000; 2) permanent maintenance; and 3) other aspect of alimony, including modification, termination, and tax treatment.