Sometimes financial support is at issue in marital dissolution. In this situation, one spouse pays the other spouse maintenance, AKA alimony, for a period of time. Maintenance is intended to ensure that the lower earning spouse is able to meet his or her needs following a dissolution of marriage. In the course of a marriage, sometimes couples divide family responsibilities so that one spouse is primarily responsible for raising the children and running the household, while the other spouse works outside the home and earns the family income. The spouse who has been at home may not have an equal opportunity to earn a living in the job market upon dissolution and maintenance can aid in the transition.
In Colorado, there are advisory spousal maintenance guidelines for marriage of three years or more. If a court is deciding the issue, in addition to considering the advisory maintenance calculation it must make a number of legal findings in order to order spousal maintenance. In general the maintenance calculation is 40% of the parties' total combined incomes minus the lower party’s income. If the parties’ combined gross incomes are higher than $240,000.00 per year, the formula does not apply.
If the combined income is over $10,000.00 per month, the number is reduced by 25% and maintenance is 75% of the resulting amount. If the combined income is under $10,000.00 per month the number is reduced by 20% and maintenance is 80% of the resulting amount. There are exceptions to these calculations so it is best to consult an attorney with regards to calculation for each particular case.
After considering the advisory calculation, The other factors that a court must consider in summary are:
- Each party’s gross income;
- Marital property given to each party;
- The financial resources of each party;
- Reasonable financial need established during the marriage; and
- Tax consequences
Next the Court must determine the amount and duration of maintenance, if awarded, by considering the following in summary:
- Statutory guidelines;
- The financial resources of the parties;
- The marital lifestyle;
- Marital property allocation;
- Both parties’ income, employment and employability;
- Historical incomes;
- Length of marriage;
- The amount and term of any temporary maintenance;
- The age and health of the parties;
- Nonmonetary contributions to the marriage;
- Whether a nominal amount of maintenance is appropriate;
- Any lack of sufficient property to provide for reasonable needs; and
- Whether childcare responsibilities make it inappropriate for a parent to work outside of the home.
Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. With offices in Colorado Springs and Denver, we can guide you through the experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings from start to finish. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Family Law can help ensure that your best interests and the best interests of your family are protected. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.