Frequently Asked Colorado Alimony Questions Part 3

  1. My wife is not paying me my alimony. What can I do?

    Just as with child support, Colorado alimony laws create various remedies and mechanisms for collecting alimony and ensuring that payments are made. With alimony, if payments are not being made, the payee has the option to issue an income assignment for purposes of garnishing the alimony from the payer’s wages. Depending on the circumstances and wording of the initial divorce orders, one can often issue the income assignment without having to file a precursor motion with the court. When the income assignment is filed, payments will be directed to the Family Support Registry, a state-holding tank which will then direct the payments to the payee. In addition to normal wages, maintenance can also be garnished from other types of income, including disability payments or unemployment. Beyond taking steps to collect the current or ongoing alimony, there are also various remedies available to collect the maintenance that has not been paid. This can include covering the past due amount owed to a judgment and garnishing that as well. With the judgment, interest can also be sought at the rate of 8% per year. Arrears can also be added into an income assignment, to be paid out over 24 months, in certain circumstances. With the judgment, wages, bank accounts, and other assets can potentially be seized or drawn from to collect. Of course there are also other remedies available, such as contempt of court. Contempt should generally be the last measure taken, as it can be the most expensive to pursue.

  2. Is there an adjustment to the maintenance (alimony) formula?

    Yes. Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-114, the basics of the maintenance formula set forth with the 2014 change to statute indicate that the formula for calculating maintenance is 40% of the higher income earner’s gross monthly income minus 50% of the lower income earner’s gross monthly income. Thus, looking at a family in which the wife earns $8,000 per month and the husband earns $4,000 per month, the formula would lead to a monthly maintenance payment of $1,200 (.4 x $8000 = $3,200 - $2000 [one half of $4000]). However, statute also makes adjustments to the basic formula calculation by indicating that the total of the maintenance recipient’s work income and alimony received cannot be greater than 40% of the aggregate family income. In the scenario set forth above, the combined family income is $12,000 per month. 40% of that would be $4,800 per month. Thus, with the adjustment, the husband could only receive $800 per month in maintenance, which, when coupled with his $4,000 per month in gross income, equals $4,800. Your Denver divorce attorney can help you determine what alimony might be in your divorce case.
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