Alimony is usually one of the most contested topics in divorce. Also called maintenance, it’s the money paid by one spouse to support the other. Rules vary among states, and a new law changed its dynamics in Colorado in 2014. It provides a formula judges can use to award fair alimony.
However, any experienced Denver or Boulder divorce lawyer would say that it’s more of a suggestion than a standard. As it may be too early to look for reliable patterns to gauge how closely judges follow it, it can still be hard to anticipate outcomes.
Nonetheless, remember these truths about alimony in Colorado to set your expectations straight:
It Considers More Than Just Income
The newly developed formula helps calculate alimony based on income, but it isn’t only about the amount of money the prospective paying spouse makes. The judge also considers the prospective supported spouse’s health, age, and financial resources to decide on the award. When the supposed spouse is the one looking after the young children, the judge also factors in childcare cost.
It Doesn’t Always Apply
Getting alimony isn’t a guarantee. The judge may not award maintenance if the length of marriage is too short. After all, the advisory guidelines the new state law provides only does the math for marriages of three to 20 years.
Furthermore, the prospective supported spouse must prove lack of proper self-sufficiency financially to the judge. Otherwise, no spouse would support another after divorce.
It’s Not Forever
Alimony is only temporary. The judge measures how long the prospective supported spouse can get back on their feet and become self-supporting. Evaluating future potential earning capacity depends on income based on job history, education, skills, and local job opportunities.
Leaving the amount and duration of alimony in the hands of the judge is full of uncertainty. It’s always advisable to discuss and finalize this matter between the couple to make the process less stressful.