The entire divorce process takes time, money and stress. Will it ever end? You go through the motions resolving issues with your spouse on child support and dividing the property.
But then the topic of alimony raises its head. Your career provides your family with vacations, new cars and future college tuition. But how much will your spouse want? Is there a limit to how much you will have to pay?
Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance in Colorado, awards a spouse money when the court deems it appropriate. You or your spouse must request alimony, and it is not an award for fault in the marriage.
Determination of maintenance
Colorado Revised Statute 10-14-114 determines alimony by looking at the following:
- The amount of each spouse’s income
- Marital property
- Actual or potential income from properties
- Financial need created during the marriage
Once the court makes the decision, it must now decide on the amount and length of time for the maintenance.
Colorado uses a standardized method of calculation to award alimony. If a couple earns less than $240,000 as a combined monthly income, the formula is 40% of the higher spouse’s income minus 50% of the lower earner’s monthly income.
For example, if the higher wage earner brings in $6,000 per month and the lower earner gets $4,000, the court will take 40% of $6,000 (or $2,400) then subtract 50% of $4,000 (or $2,000). The amount of spousal maintenance is $400.
Colorado law provides guidelines for the amount of time alimony will continue. Calculations are in whole months of at least three years to no more than 20 years. For marriages of more than 20 years, the court may decide on a specified number of years or an indefinite term.
If at any time your income decreases, you do have the option to lower the amount. A post-divorce modification can resolve the change quickly.