Alimony, called “maintenance” in Colorado, is financial support that one spouse in a divorce case may be required to pay for support of the other. Unlike child support, which is for the financial support of the children, alimony is specifically geared towards assisting one party in the case with his or her financial needs. At Plog & Stein, P.C., our attorneys recognize that alimony can be a complex part of any divorce case. Again, unlike child support, which can be somewhat black and white, alimony can be gray. By this, we mean that there is generally no set formula for what an appropriate award of alimony would be for our Denver area divorce clients.
The law regarding alimony derives from C.R.S. 14-10-114. Pursuant to statute, alimony is determined based on an array of factors, such as income of the parties, length of marriage, standard of living attained during the marriage, whether one party is caring for small children, property awarded to each party, and the earning potential of each party. As family law attorneys, we try to take the “gray” out of the equation by forumulating general rules of thumb to go by. We also try to obtain an educated feel for each judge in terms of how he or she may view alimony. With multiple counties in the Denver area, alimony rulings can vary. A judge in Arapahoe county may rule entirely differently from a judge in Adams county. Each case is truly individual, though general assumptions can help.
Though alimony can be gray in terms of ascertaining an appropriate amount, C.R.S. 14-10-115 does set forth a temporary formula for cases in which the parties have a combined adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 per year. In these instances, the fomula is 40% of the higher earner’s monthly pay minus 50% of the lower earner’s monthly pay. This formula only applies at the “temporary” orders stage of your divorce case. Furthermore, the court can deviate from the formula if the application of such would be unfair to the payor in terms of his or her ability to meet his or her own financial needs. Temporary alimony should not affect alimony decided at your final hearing.
In terms of alimony at the time of decree, there are generally two types of alimony: contractual/non-modifiable or court ordered. If your divorce case ultimately ends up being resolved by a hearing in front of a judge, that judge will enter an order indicating a specific amount of alimony for usually a specific amount of time. If alimony is decided by the judge, the court retains jurisdiction to modify the alimony award should circumstances change significantly. With contractual/non-modifiable alimony, the parties generally agree to a specific amount and duration, and usually agree that the court is divested of jurisdiction to modify. The lawyers at Plog & Stein will help you determine if your case is an alimony case, what is fair to you, and whether contractual or court ordered alimony best suits your financial situation.
In Colorado, once alimony is waived, that waiver is forever. Thus, one should be certain before waiving the right to receive maintenance, as he or she will be precluded from returning to court to seek it at a later date. Additionally, alimony generally ceases with the death of either party or remarriage of the recipient. Furthermore, in most instances, alimony is tax deductible to the payor and counts as income to the recipient for tax purposes.
Our attorneys can assist you with assessing and litigating the alimony aspects of your divorce case. This will include a thorough analysis of your financial situation, mapped up with the statutory factors indicated above. We can also determine whether an occupational evaluator or other expert is needed regarding the issues of alimony. We can readily help with securing the support you need or defending against an unreasonable alimony request. In these troubled economic times, support and the ability to meet one’s financial obligations matter. As such, alimony is a significant and serious issue. Contact one of our attorneys via our website or at (303) 781-0322 to discuss the alimony aspects of your divorce.