In any Denver divorce, there is the potential for one spouse or other to be awarded alimony, called “maintenance” under Colorado Revised Statutes. Alimony is designed to provide financial support for a spouse who is unable to meet his or her reasonable financial needs or pay necessary living expenses in light of the parties getting a divorce. The specific statutory standards for alimony are set forth in C.R.S. 14-10-114. Pursuant to statute, there are various, enumerated factors court should look at when determining the issue of alimony. Those can include income of the parties, resources available to them, any disability one spouse might have, whether one party is caring for an extremely young or disabled child, and the standard of living the parties maintained during the marriage. The court might also look at whether the prospective payer spouse will have the ability to meet his or her own reasonable financial needs while also paying alimony.
Starting in 2014, statute was amended with the Colorado legislature including a formula for calculating alimony for couples making under a combined $360,000 per year adjusted gross income. A table setting forth duration based on number of months married was also input into the statute. Though the formula and duration chart are not mandatory, courts are encouraged to follow them and if they do not, they should set forth the reason(s) why. Of course there are families making more than a combined $360,000 per year and courts are still vested with discretion regarding the issue, though it is much less gray and much more formulaic than in years past. Of all the factors statute indicates a court should look at, income is the most important. A support order for alimony will ultimately be entered, which will set forth the monthly amount (or other payment terms) and duration of the maintenance. In most cases, after that support order is entered, support is paid pursuant to the terms and the parties move on with their lives. However, that’s not the end of the story. As with any situation in life, things can change. Statute acknowledges this by affording people the opportunity to modify their alimony orders in certain situations, both as to amount and duration. Continue reading