Frequently Asked Colorado Alimony Questions Part 2

  1. Does my overtime count as income for alimony purposes?

    When determining income for alimony purposes, C.R.S. 14-10-114 defers to C.R.S. 14-10-115, the Colorado child support statute, for the definition of income. C.R.S. 14-10-115 indicates that for child support calculation purposes, voluntary overtime does not count as income. If the overtime is mandatory, it does. The situation differs when dealing with alimony. In an alimony situation, a court can look at voluntary overtime as an economic circumstance and factor it in, but will generally only do so if there is a history or pattern of the overtime being an integral and regular part of the party’s earnings. There is no black and white rule and each judge has a modicum of discretion in terms of how he or she will factor in the overtime, if at all, when determining alimony.

  2. Can I garnish alimony from my wife’s pay?

    As with child support, alimony can be garnished, or withheld from the payer’s income. Most courts will authorize the entry of a garnishment, more properly called an “income assignment,” for alimony purposes if either party asks for such. Additionally, as with a child support garnishment, alimony can be paid directly to the recipient, or through the Family Support Registry.

  3. My husband’s income has doubled since our divorce was done. Can I get my alimony raised?

    To modify alimony, a person must show that there has been a change in circumstances so substantial and continuing so as to make the prior alimony orders unfair. Therefore, there is more that goes into the analysis than just the change in income. A court will also look at the recipient’s income, as well as both parties’ financial circumstances. The second part of the analysis regarding the question ties into the nature of the alimony. If the alimony orders are entered with the court retaining jurisdiction over the issue of alimony for modification purposes, then the alimony may be modifiable. However, if the alimony orders entered are “contractual” and “non-modifiable,” with the parties agreeing that the court is divested of the ability to modify, then the court has no jurisdiction to modify the alimony and the award will be treated as a binding contract. In these uncertain economic times, with job loss and layoffs being more common place, it has become much less common for us to recommend that our clients who pay alimony enter into a contractual situation.

  4. How does alimony affect child support?

    Pursuant to the Colorado child support statute, alimony counts as income for child support purposes to the child support recipient. Conversely, alimony paid by the party also paying child support is deducted from his or her income. Thus, the more alimony a person pays, the lower the amount of child support he or she owes. As Denver child support attorneys, it is not uncommon for us to see modifications of child support centering on the termination of alimony. Once alimony stops, the income of the child support recipient goes down. For the payer, it goes up. If the change in incomes triggers a 10% or more change in the bottom line in the child support calculation, then the child support figure becomes modifiable. Alimony payed or received counts in separate child support or custody cases as well, not just in the case in which the alimony is ordered.

  5. Do I still have to pay my alimony if I lose my job?

    Yes. In any Colorado divorce case, the court expects that its orders will be followed. Orders regarding alimony are no different. When the court enters an order for alimony, perhaps for $1000 per month, the expectation is that the amount will be paid unless a change is either agreed upon between the parties or granted by the court. When the payer of alimony loses his or her job, there are options available pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-122 related to modifying the maintenance orders. Specifically, the standard for modifying maintenance is that a substantial and continuing change has occurred which makes the current maintenance orders unfair. The standard of fairness is subjective to each judge. When the payer becomes unemployed, it is often advisable to wait a month or two before filing that motion to modify. Though the job loss is certainly “substantial,” one must also show it is “continuing.” As such, waiting a little while can help prevent a response to the modification motion which includes a motion to dismiss.

    Presuming the unemployed payer can show valid efforts have been made to gain new, similar employment, he or she should be entitled to an adjustment or termination of maintenance based on the same circumstances. Going from an income amount warranting an alimony award of $1000 per month to $0 per month should be viewed as a circumstance making the prior order “unfair.” A motion to modify is retroactive to the date it is filed. As such, though payments will technically need to be made while that motion is pending, the payer should be able to recoup some of the funds paid down the road. Unfortunately, there is no instant relief. If someone is truly just unable to pay when becoming unemployed, and can demonstrate such, the likelihood of being found in contempt of court if payments are not made goes down. Nonetheless, it is advisable to follow orders when able. Nothing is automatic in the court system and job loss does not automatically eliminate the duty to pay alimony.
<< Back - 2 of 4 - Next >>
Main Alimony FAQs
Client Testimonials
His passion and ferocity kept me going through this long ordeal.
When I first came to Plog & Stein it was simply discuss the renegotiation of child support. Little did I know that within 72 hours I would be retaining Steve Plog for a custody battle. His passion and ferocity kept me going through this long ordeal. I have recommended him to my friends and I would recommend him to anyone with who wants honest and effective representation.
I recommend Sarah and the attorneys at Plog & Stein to anyone that has these types of family issues and need strong, knowledgeable representation.
I am thankful for the job Sarah McCain did for me in my fight with my ex-wife for visitation rights with my daughter. Sarah and the team at Plog & Stein handled my case in an efficient, affordable, and professional manner. Sarah negotiated a new parenting plan as well as acceptable visiting rights and even a favorable modification in my child support. I recommend Sarah and the attorneys at Plog & Stein to anyone that has these types of family issues and need strong, knowledgeable representation.
At the end of the day he was able to produce a settlement that was fair to both parties.
I highly recommend Stephen Plog for anyone in need of a top notch domestic relations attorney. After a 27 year marriage, Stephen represented me in a complicated and sometimes bitter divorce with many unique challenges. At the end of the day he was able to produce a settlement that was fair to both parties but limited my alimony payments to only 3 years. He is smart, cuts to the chase, knows the court system in the Denver metropolitan area and can be trusted to get his clients the best possible settlement.
Their service was outstanding, with prompt responses to all of my questions.
Sarah McCain and Plog & Stein were wonderful to me during such a difficult time in my life. Their service was outstanding, with prompt responses to all of my questions and creative ideas throughout the proceedings to help things go smoothly. Sarah's compassion, patience, and expertise were especially invaluable to me. I highly recommend them.