If you are involved in an alimony dispute in the State of Colorado, either during the divorce process or after a divorce, it is essential to have the advice and guidance of a Leadville divorce attorney.

Divorce in this state is called “dissolution of marriage,” but no matter what you call it, divorce is never easy. Alimony in Colorado is called “spousal maintenance,” and obtaining it after a divorce may be difficult.

In what situations are alimony payments ordered after a Colorado divorce? Why would a request for alimony be denied? Whether you seek alimony or expect to pay it, if you’ll keep reading, you will learn more about alimony – and about your rights – after a Colorado divorce.

What is Alimony and Why Are Alimony Payments Ordered?

Alimony, called “spousal maintenance” in Colorado law, may be ordered by a family court to ensure that the terms of a divorce are fair to all parties involved. How does alimony work? If you are seeking a divorce in Colorado, what should you know about alimony?

Spousal maintenance is distinct from child support. It provides financial support from one spouse so that the other may meet basic needs. The amount of the payments depends on the incomes of the spouses, their childcare obligations, the length of the marriage, and other circumstances.

During the divorce process in this state, a family court judge will determine if alimony payments are appropriate, and if so, in what amount and for what length of time.

How Do Colorado Courts Make Decisions About Alimony?

Under Colorado law, that determination is made at the request of one partner after a divorce, separation, or annulment. An alimony determination is based on the amount of each spouse’s income, assets, and debts, as well as reasonable financial need.

When the court decides that alimony is appropriate, it then specifies the amount of the payments and the length of time that the payments will be made.

Here is the formula that Colorado courts use to calculate alimony. The alimony figure is to equal 40 percent of the higher income earner’s monthly adjusted gross income, minus 50 percent of the lower income earner’s monthly adjusted gross income.

When the alimony figure is added to the gross income of the party receiving alimony, he or she cannot receive in excess of 40 percent of both parties’ combined monthly adjusted gross incomes.

For How Long Are Alimony Payments Made?

How long will alimony payments be made? That determination is based on the length of the marriage. If a marriage lasted only three years, alimony is paid for eleven months, but if the marriage endured for twenty years, the party paying alimony can expect to pay it for ten years.

At least, that’s what the guidelines provide, but Colorado family courts are not necessarily bound by those guidelines.

If a marriage has lasted for over twenty years, the court has discretion regarding how much alimony will be awarded and for how long. In some of these cases, alimony may be awarded for life or until the party receiving alimony remarries.

The basic rule in Colorado is that you must be married for three years to receive alimony. The alimony formula is designed so that if the higher income earner grosses $40,000 a month and the other spouse earns only $4,000, the other spouse could receive $14,000 in alimony each month.

When Making Alimony Decisions, What Will a Court Consider?

Bur Colorado family court judges have wide discretion over alimony. The state’s guidelines do not bind judges, so the court may take into account anything related to the marriage when it determines alimony awards, including:

1. the partners’ financial resources
2. their lifestyle during the marriage
3. the division of marital assets and properties
4. each partner’s job, employability, and work history
5. each partner’s age and health
6. the contributions made by each partner to the marriage

One court may adhere strictly to the state’s alimony guidelines; another court may ignore them. Because judges have wide discretion regarding alimony awards, it is essential to have the right Colorado divorce lawyer working on your behalf as a divorce, separation, or annulment unfolds.

Can Spouses Make Their Own Alimony Arrangement?

If divorcing spouses can reach a mutual agreement concerning alimony amounts and payments, a Colorado court will almost certainly approve that voluntary arrangement, provided that the agreement is fair and does not violate any Colorado law.

Depending on the details of the divorce, several “types” of alimony may be available to divorcing Colorado spouses, including:

1. temporary alimony
2. rehabilitative alimony
3. reimbursement
4. permanent alimony

What are Rehabilitative Alimony and Reimbursement?

Rehabilitative alimony compels the higher-earning spouse to provide financial assistance to the other spouse while that spouse acquires job skills or vocational training to become self-sufficient.

Reimbursement may be ordered if one partner paid for the other’s education or career training during the marriage. When married, both spouses benefit from the education or job training, but after, unless reimbursement is ordered, only the trained or educated partner retains those benefits.

Can Men Receive Alimony?

If you think that only women qualify for spousal maintenance in Colorado, think again. The family court’s only concerns are that the alimony award is fair to both parties, that the spouse seeking payments can demonstrate a need, and that the other spouse can afford the payments.

There are many ways to dissolve a marriage or establish alimony payments, but to protect your property, your children, and your best long-term interests, having the right attorney handle your divorce and/or alimony dispute really is the only practical option.

How Will the Right Divorce Lawyer Help You?

If you try to represent yourself in a divorce or alimony dispute, you will find that the law is confusing and complicated, and you’ll find that too much is at stake. It takes the right divorce lawyer to ensure that your children and your future are fully and effectively protected.

A divorce is always emotional and often acrimonious, but your attorney’s job is to stay focused and to move you as smoothly as possible through the process. Even if you think that you do not qualify to receive alimony, your attorney may be able to help you obtain it.

If you divorce, you may also be involved in a dispute over marital property, child custody, or child support. A Leadville divorce attorney can fight on your behalf in any of these situations. If you divorce in Colorado, having the advice and services of a good divorce lawyer is your right.