Spousal Support – Alimony/Maintenance Attorneys
Serving Denver, Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley, Colorado
Spousal maintenance – also known as alimony or spousal support– is a common issue in divorces where two people have been married for years and one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Separate in many ways from property division and child support, maintenance (alimony) exists to support the lesser earning spouse who may be unable to financially support him or herself during or after a divorce.
How Spousal Support/Alimony is Determined
Some couples are able to agree on alimony terms on their own or during mediation. If spouses cannot come to an agreement, the court will decide if maintenance is appropriate, how much maintenance is appropriate, and how long maintenance should be paid. A new statutory guideline was introduced in 2014 which provides some insight regarding what spousal maintenance or alimony might be in a particular case. If the decision regarding maintenance/alimony is left to the judge, there are many factors that will be considered, including:
- Each party’s income
- Division of property and debt
- Each party’s earning capacity
- Any limitations on earning capacity
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- If there are children and who is the primary caregiver
- Age and health of each party
- Each party’s educational background
Spousal maintenance/alimony is not a part of every divorce. If both you and your former spouse have similar incomes and one is not significantly dependent on the other, or if you were married for a short time, this type of support may not come into play. However, this does not mean that it cannot or will not be requested. Either party can request spousal maintenance/alimony. To preserve your rights, speak to an experienced family law attorney with experience in handling cases involving spousal maintenance/alimony.
Duration of Support Payments
Alimony/spousal maintenance may last only through the divorce proceedings (“temporary maintenance”) or it may be ordered to last for a longer period of time. The term of the spousal support may be a defined number of months/years or it may be indefinite. The duration depends on some of the factors listed above. Additional considerations in determining the length of spousal support payments include:
- How long were the parties married?
- What is/was the earning capacity of each spouse?
- How long will it take the receiving spouse to obtain be able to support themselves?
- Will the receiving spouse have to return to school to acquire or update necessary skills?
- Is either spouse chronically ill or disabled, and unable to work as a result?
Modification of Spousal Support/Alimony
In some scenarios, one spouse may wish to modify the terms of an alimony award or support order. If support was based on the parties’ incomes and those incomes have changed, or a spouse’s needs have changed, the amount of support or duration of payments may need to be modified.
Our family law and divorce attorneys at The Malman Law Firm will handle all issues related to spousal maintenance/alimony, whether you are the recipient or the payor. We will represent you while the terms of support are being decided, and assist with petitions for modifying the agreement. We also represent recipients who are not receiving the payments they are owed under existing orders and work to enforce orders not being followed.
If you live in Colorado and want to learn more about alimony, maintenance or spousal support, please contact the Malman Law Firm to schedule a consultation.