Spousal maintenance in Colorado, also often referred to as spousal support, alimony, or simply maintenance, is for the support of one spouse when there is a disparity in income between the parties. If one party cannot meet his or her reasonable needs, and the other party has the ability to pay, the Court may award maintenance.
Spousal maintenance is a financial obligation of one spouse to the other following a dissolution of marriage action. Spousal maintenance is not awarded in every case and must be requested to be addressed by the court. It is important to understand Colorado’s support guidelines and use the proper calculations to determine spousal maintenance.
While Colorado has maintenance guidelines in place, it is important to keep in mind that these are just guidelines. The Court has the option to award a lower or higher amount of spousal maintenance, or not award maintenance at all. The Court can also extend the time that maintenance will be paid or may order maintenance for a shorter period than the guidelines recommend.
Spousal maintenance in Colorado can be awarded on a temporary basis and a long-term basis. Temporary maintenance is typically awarded when one party is in immediate need of financial assistance to meet his or her needs during the divorce process. This can be agreed upon or ordered by the Court following a hearing.
Spousal maintenance takes in to account many different factors which are specific to each case, such as the length of the marriage, each party’s ability to earn income, the lifestyle during the marriage, the ages of the parties, and any health issues that interfere with a party’s ability to work or earn money. In some circumstances, calculating support can be very complex. Self-employment income or income that is not reported on a W-2 can greatly change the results in the amount and duration of support. It is important to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process and provide you with the most relevant information.
Modification of Spousal Maintenance in Colorado
The attorneys at CCFL prefer to help you finalize all issues in a divorce or legal separation. However, in many circumstances, the parties are still tied together financially because one party is paying maintenance to the other. Sometimes, a change in circumstances requires a change in the maintenance award. Your options will be based on your specific circumstances and whether your original award allows for modification of the amount or length of time that maintenance is paid. It is important to review the maintenance terms in your Separation Agreement order with one of our experienced Northern Colorado divorce lawyers to get fully informed on how those terms could affect you in the future.
Either party can file to modify spousal maintenance based upon a change in circumstances, but maintenance will only be modified if your original maintenance award allows for modification and there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that makes the original award unfair. Some changes may include loss of employment, change in income, or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance. Even retirement can affect maintenance and may be grounds to modify the original maintenance award. Small fluctuations in income are not considered enough to modify spousal maintenance. Talk to an attorney regarding your specific circumstance to determine whether a modification is appropriate in your case.
Enforcement of Spousal Maintenance
Unfortunately, there are times when a party does not pay maintenance he or she is ordered to pay. When that happens, there are methods of ensuring future payments and collecting on past due payments. Depending on your specific circumstances these options will vary.
If you are the party that is unable to pay or feels that the amount is unfair, it is important to consult with a family law attorney to understand what your options are. In some cases, you may be able to reach an agreement with the other party to modify the maintenance award. In others, you will need a Court to decide. It is important that you continue to pay the Court ordered amount if at all possible. If it is not possible, you may need an attorney to advocate for you to modify the maintenance of an award or explore other options.
Contact Our Northern Colorado Family Lawyers Today for Help With Divorce & Spousal Maintenance
The family law attorneys at Choice City Family Law, LLC. advocate for our clients when establishing, modifying, or enforcing spousal maintenance orders. We pride ourselves on keeping our clients informed with the most accurate and up-to-date information about Colorado laws that apply to our client’s cases. Contact us today. We serve Northern Colorado including Larimer County, Weld County, and Boulder County.