This page and the information contained in it is merely an overview of the factors and considerations involved in a maintenance case. If you really want to understand the law and how it relates to your particular situation, an experienced attorney must evaluate your individual case and apply the law to your facts. The below information is no substitute for an attorney and should be read in light of the fact that there is much more in the law regarding maintenance than described here. If you are considering hiring an attorney, please contact us today to discuss your issues and how we can help.
Spousal maintenace, formerly known as "alimony", is centered around the concept of ensuring that a lower income spouse is able to meet his or her reasonable needs after a divorce. "Reasonable needs" is in part defined with reference to the standard of living during the marriage and as such, maintenance often prevents a significant drop in a spouse's standard of living as the result of a divorce. There are many factors that influence whether maintenance is likely to be awarded in a given case, but a good predictor that it might be awarded is if there is a high disparity in income (or potential income/earning capacity) between the two spouses.
In 2014, Colorado significantly changed its statute regarding spousal maintenance. The statute provides for many factors that influence whether maintenance should be awarded and if awarded, how much and for how long. If the judge decides that maintenance is appropriate in a given case, there is a formula that offers a guideline amount of maintenance, which uses the parties' incomes as the determinating variables. There is also a table that lists months of marriage with corresponding months of maintenance. The amount of maintenance produced by the formula and the duration in the statute are guidelines and the judge has the discretion to decide whether a different amount or duration is appropriate. If you believe your case might involve a request for the judge to deviate from the guidelines, an attorney can be particularly helpful, as this is an area where there is significant opportunity for creative arguments, depending on your particular situation. However, there is always some uncertainty in how a given judge will rule on a maintenance issue. The statute was modified partly to provide some more predictability and consistency, but it remains to be seen if that will be the result. If maintenance is awarded, it is typically modifiable.
There are a variety of statutes that affect maintenance, but the general maintenace statute in Colorado is Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-114 which can be accessed here.