Spousal Maintenance in Colorado Springs Dissolution AKA Divorce
Spousal maintenance is also known as alimony. Its purpose is to transfer income from a higher-earning spouse to a lower-earning spouse, to ensure that both parties can meet their needs as established during the marriage during and after dissolution. It is not awarded in all cases and is dependent on the ability to pay and reasonable financial need.
Spousal maintenance can be awarded at temporary or final orders. Unless the Parties state that spousal maintenance is nonmodifiable, the Court retains jurisdiction to modify it if there are financial changes in the future. Spousal maintenance guidelines are advisory for the court and there is a great deal of discretion permitted in awards.
For marriages of more than 20 years, maintenance may be awarded indefinitely. It is possible to pay a maintenance award in a lump sum, however most obligors pay over time. It is also possible to allocate additional marital property in lieu of a maintenance award. Parties can be creative in maintenance awards. For example, maintenance can reduce over time IAW set events, such as retirement, completion of an educational program or beginning employment, for example.
It is necessary to request that a court consider spousal maintenance in the Petition. An unrepresented party must be made aware of the maintenance guidelines which is typically done in a spousal maintenance advisement. A court considers a number of factors in determining a maintenance award. First the court must consider generally:
- Each parties income
- Marital property awarded to each spouse
- The financial resources of each party, and
- Reasonable financial need
Next the court must consider generally:
- The spousal maintenance guidelines calculation
- The financial resources of the parties
- The marital lifestyle
- Property distribution
- Income, employment, and employment capacity
- Historical income of each party
- The length of the marriage
- Any temporary maintenance awarded
- The age and health of the spouses, and
- Significant contributions to the marriage or other spouse
- Financial need and ability to pay, and a
- Requirement to care for young children
Certain income is not included for purposes of calculating spousal maintenance. Excluded are child support payments, certain public benefits, pay from second jobs, certain types of Social Security benefits, and certain specified earnings from retirement accounts.
Income from self-employed individuals may be harder to determine as ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income must be deducted from the gross income. Excluded from expenses are such things as accelerated depreciation or expenses that offset personal expenses such as medical insurance premiums.Voluntary Unemployment or Underemployment
An issue that may arise in spousal maintenance awards is whether a person is employed to his or her full capacity. Maintenance must be calculated based upon potential income in cases of voluntary unemployment or underemployment unless the spouse is physically or mentally incapacitated, caring for a child of the parties under age two and a half, incarcerated for at least one year, or attending a good-faith full-time educational program intended to result in a higher income.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
A knowledgeable and experienced spousal maintenance attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. This allows you to focus on to a better future. Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone.
Sabra Janko from Janko Family Law is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who protects your best interests and ensures that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations. Contact us at 719-344-5523 for a free 30-minute informational consultation or complete our online form.