One of the major issues that will need to be addressed in a divorce case in Colorado is the issue of spousal support, which is typically referred to as maintenance in the Colorado Revised Statutes, and which is called alimony in many other jurisdictions. When a couple’s dissolution of marriage occurs, the court can order one party to pay maintenance to the other party, usually in the form of a monthly payment for a set period of time.
The statue concerning maintenance is Colorado Revised Statutes section 14-10-114, and it sets forth many factors to guide the court’s determination of a maintenance order. The most prominent factors are the parties’ incomes, and the length of time that the parties have been married. The statute sets forth a guideline maintenance calculation for the amount and the duration of a maintenance award, and also provides that a court does not have to always apply what the guideline calculation states. In many cases, a court will use its discretion to deviate from the guideline calculation. Another aspect of the guideline calculation is that when the parties’ incomes are not substantially different, the guideline calculation will result at a zero number.
When the parties in a divorce case have settled their case outside of court, the settlement will need to address whether maintenance is paid, and the terms and duration of the same. Parties in a settlement may agree to a maintenance “buy-out”, in which a lump sum payment is made or a settlement concession of another form is reached, in lieu of paying any monthly support amount. Parties may also agree to their own method of modification or otherwise agree that a maintenance obligation is non-modifiable.
Depending on the case, the spousal support issue might be the most controversial issue in a divorce. People can be emotionally resistant to having to pay large amounts of money each month for a long period of time. Even a typically simple divorce case could become much more complicated when the issue of spousal support is disputed. If you have questions about your situation and want to determine how the issue of spousal support could be handled in your case, do not hesitate to call us today.