Maintenance and Modification of Maintenance
In Colorado, alimony is called “maintenance.” One spouse may be required to pay maintenance to another spouse for a broad variety of reasons. While child support is determined by formula and is relatively clear, alimony is not awarded in all cases and is not determined mathematically. This is a grey area that the Durango family law attorneys of Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt can help you navigate. Our knowledgeable lawyers have significant experience helping those with spousal support issues in La Plata County, Archuleta County, Montezuma County, and the Southern Ute Tribal Court jurisdiction.What Factors Are Considered By Colorado Courts In Awarding Maintenance?
C.R.S. §14-10-114 governs the award of maintenance. Factors the court will consider include whether one parent is caring for small children and cannot work, the income of both parents, how long the spouses were married, the family's standard of living before divorce, the property division, and each spouse's earning potential. For example, a young mother who gave up her job to care for three kids and is likely to have trouble re-entering the workforce is more likely to need maintenance than a middle-aged man with a job who does not have primary custody of the children.
There is a temporary formula for situations when the couple has a combined adjusted gross income of under $75,000. In such cases, the lower-earning spouse will receive 40% of the higher-earning spouse's monthly pay, subtracting 50% of the lower-earning spouse's monthly pay. This is only on a temporary basis, and the court may deviate from this rule if the result makes it difficult for the person providing the support to meet his or her own needs.
There are two types of maintenance: contractual maintenance and court-ordered maintenance. For the first type, the parties have agreed to a specific amount of maintenance and agree about how long it will last. This usually removes the court's jurisdiction to modify the amount in the agreement as well. For the second type, your case is resolved in front of a judge. This means that the court will have jurisdiction to modify the maintenance if your or your ex-spouse's financial circumstances change.
Starting in 2014 Colorado adopted guidelines that provide judges a recommended maintenance amount and a recommended period of maintenance based on the respective incomes of the parties and the length of the marriage.
If you decide to waive maintenance, you should be aware that you are waiving it forever. You will not be able to come back to the court if you change your mind or need the maintenance at a later time. If you have been receiving support and get remarried, you should know that the maintenance will most likely cease once you are remarried. The maintenance will be considered income to the recipient for tax and other purposes, and it will be deductible to the person paying.Explore Your Maintenance Matter with a Durango Lawyer
Maintenance can be the source of serious acrimony as a marriage falls apart. One spouse may feel the other spouse is not entitled to hard-earned money once the couple is divorced. Or one spouse may be angry about giving up a career to stay at home with minor children and may not be able to enter the workforce at the same level. Both parties may be stressed, and tempers may run high. This is why it is so important to retain an attorney who has emotional distance from your divorce. The trustworthy Durango maintenance attorneys of Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt can help you navigate the divorce process and requests for maintenance, as well as requests for modification if your circumstances change. We represent clients in Durango, Pagosa Springs, Cortez, and Ignacio. Contact us at (970) 259-4422 or by filling out our online form to start a confidential conversation.