August 24, 2023
Are you confused and frustrated trying to understand the guidelines for alimony in Colorado; you’re not alone. Alimony, or “spousal maintenance” as it is known in Colorado, is a complicated and difficult area of law to understand for most couples filing for divorce here.
The guidelines are set forth in Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-114, and, as stated, they are only guidelines; courts are not bound to follow them. For marriages lasting three years or more, the statute provides a guideline formula for family law courts to use to determine the amount and duration of maintenance if it is awarded at all. For most situations the guideline amount is approximately 40% of the higher income earner’s monthly adjusted gross income minus 50% of the lower income earner’s monthly adjusted gross income. There is an upper income limit, however, to which this formula applies, and, as previously mentioned, courts may choose to not follow the guidelines based on various factors.
The duration of maintenance generally ranges from 31% to 50% of the length of the marriage, depending on the number of years the couple was married. Keep in mind, the court has discretion to deviate from these guidelines if specific findings are made to justify a different term. Family law courts consider several factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial resources of both parties, the lifestyle established during the marriage, and the needs of the receiving spouse.
A party can file a petition to modify maintenance if the parties have not agreed that the maintenance is contractual and non-modifiable. Generally, to prevail on a motion to modify maintenance, a party must show a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that would result in the current order being unduly unfair.
Please note that this explanation is meant to provide a general overview and should not be construed as legal advice for any situation. Please consult with an experienced Colorado family law attorney for specific guidance.