One issue that brings spouses stress during a divorce is money. A divorce can create a substantial financial burden for each of the spouses. You’ve likely heard about alimony or spousal support. However, you might wonder, Is alimony always awarded after a divorce?
Whether or not one spouse pays alimony to the other after a divorce depends on several case-specific factors. Below, the Denver alimony attorneys at Plog & Stein P.C. explain when alimony is awarded under Colorado law.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance all refer to payments made by one spouse to another when they divorce. Colorado law calls these payments spousal maintenance. (DELETE SPOUSAL-STATUTE ONLY CALLS IT “MAINTANANCE)
Is Alimony Automatic in a Divorce?
Alimony is not automatic when a married couple breaks up. The spouse who wants it must request maintenance from the court. The court will then ultimately determine if alimony is warranted. If so, the judge will then determine the amount and duration of any support payments.
However, rather than having a court determine alimony, the spouses can agree to spousal support payments. The spouses can include the duration, amount, and conditions terminating spousal support payments in the agreement—instead of leaving this decision up to a judge.
Types of Alimony
Whether a court will award alimony depends upon the circumstances of each case and the type of alimony requested. You can petition for temporary alimony to sustain you while the divorce is pending, and you can ask to receive longer-lasting alimony starting after the divorce is finalized.
Temporary spousal maintenance consists of payments made by one spouse to the other while the divorce proceeding is pending with the court. The court could also include temporary child support payments and require each party to contribute temporarily to the maintenance of the marital property.
Once the divorce is final, the temporary spousal maintenance ends. However, the final divorce decree may include an ongoing spousal maintenance order.
Permanent spousal maintenance is spousal support that is included in the final divorce decree. This means that it will continue after the divorce is official and the marriage is over.
Permanent spousal support doesn’t necessarily mean that it will last forever. The parties or the court can indicate that it will end after a certain amount of time or upon a particular event happening. For example, the spouses can agree that the spousal maintenance payments will end when the recipient spouse finishes a training program.
Permanent spousal maintenance also typically ends when:
- Either party dies,
- The recipient spouse remarries, or
- The recipient spouse enters into a civil union.
The payor spouse can also ask the court to modify a spousal maintenance order if they experience a significant change in circumstances, such as involuntary job loss, reduction in income, or a long-term disability.
Qualifying for Alimony
A court doesn’t award alimony in every case. Instead, the court employs the following approach for determining alimony in Colorado, as well as looking at a statutory formula for families with a combined adjusted gross income of $240,000 per year, or less.
The court first examines the following factors to determine whether to award spousal support:
- Each spouse’s gross income,
- Each spouse’s share of the marital property,
- The financial resources of each spouse,
- Reasonable financial need established during the marriage, and
- The tax implications of alimony.
The court makes the above findings in writing or orally.
Next, the court will determine whether alimony is fair and equitable based on the following:
- Each spouse’s financial resources, including potential income from separate or marital property;
- The payor spouse’s financial resources and ability to meet their financial obligations;
- The lifestyle established during the marriage;
- Marital property distribution;
- Whether a different share of marital property can alleviate the financial burden;
- Each party’s income and ability to gain education, training, or employment;
- Historical wage discrepancy between the spouses;
- The length of the marriage;
- Temporary maintenance, if any;
- Each spouse’s age and health;
- Contributions to the marriage, including non-economic, such as helping the other spouse achieve educational or professional advancement;
- Tax implications of support payments; and
- Any other factor the court deems relevant.
The court uses the above assessment to decide whether spousal support would be fair and, if so, the amount and duration of any support.
Is alimony always awarded after divorce? No. A court doesn’t always award alimony after a divorce. Whether a court grants spousal maintenance depends entirely on its analysis of the factors above.
Contact Our Denver Alimony Attorneys Today
At Plog & Stein P.C., we understand the financial toll of a divorce. With decades of experience litigating divorce cases, including alimony issues, we’re well-equipped to assess your financial situation under the law. This way, we can fight for your best interests during your divorce. Let us help you secure your future. Contact us today.