When parties divorce in Colorado one spouse may be entitled to maintenance (also referred to as “spousal support” or “alimony”). Maintenance is intended to assist a spouse who does not have sufficient resources to meet his or her needs and is unable to support himself or herself through employment. Maintenance is not guaranteed in every divorce, even if one spouse earns less than the other, and there are a number of factors the Court considers when making a maintenance award. Factors relevant to determining whether spousal support is appropriate include the length of the marriage, each spouses contribution to the marriage, the financial resources of both spouses, the lifestyle during the marriage, the age and health of the parties, including both parties ability to work in the future, and any other factor the court might find relevant.
In 2014 Colorado instituted a formula to assist in determining both the amount and duration of maintenance to eligible spouses. The formula calculates the support amount by taking 40% of the higher spouse’s monthly income and subtracting 50% of the lower earner’s monthly income. The duration of maintenance depends on the length of the marriage, ranging from one-third to one-half the length of the marriage. Marriages under three years are generally not subject to maintenance.
Even with the new maintenance formula, Court’s still have broad discretion in determining spousal support (maintenance), and maintenance is never guaranteed. The attorneys at Harrington Brewster & Clein are experienced in negotiating and litigating maintenance/spousal support on behalf of both paying spouses and recipient spouses.