When you are considering filing for a divorce, you will want to know how much maintenance (which is called alimony in other states) you might receive or how much maintenance you might have to pay. Jeremy will assist you in understanding maintenance under Colorado law and how it will affect you after your marriage is dissolved.
A Colorado court can award maintenance to a spouse under certain circumstances. A spouse requesting an award of maintenance must meet a threshold test by proving to the Court that he/she is unable to meet his/her reasonable needs through the property awarded to the spouse and through the spouse’s gainful employment and all other sources of income. The requesting spouse must also convince the Court that the spouse from whom maintenance is requested is able to meet his/her reasonable needs through the property awarded to the spouse and through his/her employment and other sources of income and has sufficient funds to pay maintenance to the requesting spouse.
For cases filed after January 1, 2014, there are now suggestive guidelines that the Court may, in its discretion, use to determine the term of maintenance and the amount of maintenance in cases in which the parties’ combined monthly gross income does not exceed $20,000 per month. The term of maintenance begins with 31% of the months of the marriage and increases to 50% of the months of the marriage. If the marriage is 20 years or more, the guidelines permit permanent maintenance. The Court can award maintenance in marriages of less than three years.
The statute, which was amended as of August 8, 2018, includes a formula for the amount of maintenance if the requesting spouse has met the threshold test. The formula for the amount of maintenance is 40% of the combined gross monthly income minus the lower income spouse’s gross monthly income provided that the parties’ combined gross monthly income is less than $20,000 per month. If the parties’ combined gross monthly income is more than $20,000 per month, the Court considers other statutory factors and exercises its discretion in determining the amount of the maintenance award. This amount is further adjusted in cases filed after January 1, 2019 because maintenance is no longer taxable income to the receiving party or deductible by the paying party.
Once a party is ordered to pay maintenance, either party may move for a modification of the maintenance award if there has been a substantial and continuing change of circumstances.
Parties in a divorce can agree to different amounts of maintenance and different terms of maintenance than set forth in the new statutory guidelines. In the context of settlement, parties may agree to contractual maintenance which is for a specific period of time and a specific amount of money that is non-modifiable by either party or by any court in the future. Courts cannot award contractual maintenance. Parties can only agree to contractual maintenance as part of a settlement.
Jeremy will help you understand the amount of maintenance you may receive or have to pay and how long maintenance may last.