Types of Alimony
Alimony or spousal support is called “maintenance” in Colorado. This consists of money to be paid by one spouse to the other after a marriage has been dissolved. Alimony may be ordered during divorce proceedings, and it may be short-term or long-term. If you are seeking to learn more about your rights or options concerning alimony as you contemplate a divorce, an experienced lawyer may be able to answer your questions and provide representation. At Plog & Stein, P.C., our knowledgeable alimony attorneys in Denver can help you seek or oppose claims for spousal support during a divorce. We also deal with issues related to the modification of alimony after the final divorce is done.
Specifics of Alimony
Alimony can come in various forms and the specific language set forth in either agreements or court orders matters. In Colorado, an award of alimony will generally run for a set duration, though in some rare instances it may be ordered as “lifetime.” The duration of alimony will largely depend on the length of the marriage, though sometimes also the age of the parties.
Temporary maintenance may be awarded while your divorce is pending. When determining whether temporary spousal support should be awarded in cases in which a couple has a combined yearly gross income of $240,000 or less, the court generally will use a formula. Before applying this formula, the court will look at whether other spousal support or child support payments to prior spouses and children should be subtracted from either spouse’s adjusted gross income. The formula is not set in stone, and if you have a good reason, you may ask the court to deviate from it. Alternatively, both spouses may agree to waive temporary maintenance, or there may be no basis for maintenance orders to be entered. Each case is going to be different and incomes will generally be the pivotal factor.
The same statutory formula will also be looked at when it comes time to assess whether maintenance will be awarded to run after the final orders hearing is done. Aside from incomes of the parties, the court may look at other factors, including whether one spouse has insufficient property to take care of their own needs, cannot support themselves through employment, or takes care of a child with a condition that makes it appropriate for that spouse not to seek immediate employment. For example, an infant with special needs or an adult disabled child might take most of a custodial parent’s time, and in these cases, that spouse may not be able to work immediately after the divorce or at all. Likewise, the court can also look at the future earning capacity of the spouses, the duration of the marriage, the age and emotional condition of the spouse who needs maintenance, and the ability of the spouse being asked to pay to meet his or her own financial needs.
How Long Does Alimony Have to Be Paid For
For alimony to be paid after the divorce decree enters, the court will generally set the duration based on a statutory chart, which ranges for a marriage of between 3 and 20 years. Maintenance can certainly be assessed for marriages that are shorter or longer than the range, though courts are likely to follow the duration guidelines for marriages falling within that range. With marriages of roughly 12 years or greater, statute suggests that maintenance should run for at least half the length of the marriage. As with the amount of alimony, the court does not have to follow the duration chart, though it is generally normal to do so.
Though courts generally maintain jurisdiction to monitor and modify alimony awards, parties can contract as to both amount and duration, thereby divesting the court of modification jurisdiction. Likewise, maintenance is generally tax deductible to the payer and taxable to the payee. Understanding your legal options tied into alimony is key to making sure you get the result that is best for you.
In most cases, maintenance is intended to not only provide a spouse with ongoing support but to also give him or her a chance to improve earning potential through employment or education. In this regard, maintenance can also be viewed as rehabilitative. In other words, it is sometimes there to allow a spouse with a lesser earning capacity or without a job the resources and time with which to improve their financial situation.
Consult a Knowledgeable Lawyer, Call Plog & Stein Today!
If you are getting a divorce, it is important to be aware of the intricacies of alimony that may arise and to discuss these issues with your attorney. At Plog & Stein, P.C., we understand the legal issues associated with spousal support, and our retainer rates are competitive. Contact Plog & Stein, P.C. at (303) 781-0322 or via our online form for an appointment with a Denver divorce lawyer. Our spousal support lawyers also represent people in Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas counties, including clients from Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, and Castle Rock.