Spousal maintenance – more commonly known as spousal support—can last for different periods of time after a divorce, depending on how a case is resolved. Whether you get or pay alimony in Colorado, here’s what you need to know about the duration and limits of alimony.
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You May Decide When Spousal Maintenance Ends
Divorcing spouses have the right and power to choose how they want the issues of their case to be handled. That can include spousal support. In fact, even if exes cannot agree on other issues of a divorce case (like child custody), they may be able to reach an agreement when it comes to:
- A lump-sum Maintenance payment: This type of spousal maintenance ends once the lump sum payment has been made. Generally, this will occur when exes agree to give up ongoing maintenance payments in exchange for the lump-sum payment and certain assets, like homes or bank accounts. The lump sum should factor into calculation of child support and should be adjusted for present value since all of the money is paid up front rather than spread out over a period of years.
- Monthly spousal maintenance: When divorcing parties agree – or the court orders – spousal maintenance for some period of time, these payments can last for several months up to several years, according to whatever agreement has been set forth in the divorce papers or Court Orders. There are advisory guidelines in Colorado to help determine what length of spousal maintenance is appropriate Whether maintenance is paid by court order or by agreement is also a factor in understanding what you can expect either as the payor or the recipient of spousal support.
Here, it’s important to note that:
- Spousal Maintenance is not guaranteed: While Colorado courts do see child support as an obligation that both parents share, spousal maintenance is not classified the same way. That means that divorcing parties should not assume that they will automatically get spousal maintenance without establishing a need for it. This can include a temporary need during the divorce, as well as a longer-term need after a divorce has been resolved.
- Spousal Maintenance awards can affect other support payments: When the court determines how much child support to order, it does take into account any spousal maintenance payment that has already been awarded in a case. That’s crucial for divorcing parents to consider when they are involved in these financial support disputes.
If You Cannot Decide, Colorado Courts Will Rule on When Spousal Maintenance Ends
The court has the final say in how long and how much maintenance will be paid whenever divorcing spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own. In these situations, Colorado courts will consider several factors to determine the amount and duration of maintenance awards. These factors include (and are not necessarily limited to):
- How long the marriage lasted
- Each party’s income and financial resources
- The age of each party
- The health of each party
- The receiving party’s ability to earn income and the paying party’s ability to earn income
- Whether either party is (or will be) making child support payments
In general, longer marriages can mean longer periods of maintenance payments. Still, these payments won’t last forever. In fact, the courts view it as a way to help one party adjust so they can eventually be financially independent. The courts may modify maintenance payments in the future if or when the individual who is paying experiences certain events, like job loss, an accident, or a new health complication or when the individual is receiving the funds experience certain events, like a new job, pay raise, promotion, significant inheritance or other positive change in financial circumstances.
Get More Answers from a Trusted Denver Divorce Lawyer
A lot may be on the line when it’s time to work out maintenance disputes or modify payments after a divorce. Whenever you need answers about your rights and obligations related to Maintenance in Colorado, you can turn to a top-rated Denver divorce lawyer at Littman Family Law and Mediation Services.
Our experienced family law attorneys have more than 40 years of experience providing exceptional representation in divorce, mediation, and other family law matters. Dedicated to putting your needs first, we consider each of our clients to be part of our team. That’s why we work relentlessly to set them up for success and help them achieve their goals in divorce.
Find out more about how we can help you by contacting us now.
Call 303-832-4200 or contact us online for a confidential, no-obligation consultation.
Solving your legal problems is a priority for the family and divorce lawyers at Littman Family Law and Mediation Services. In fact, our mission is to use our skills, experience, ethics, and resources to bring your case to the best resolution possible. Let’s discuss your options and next steps in a confidential meeting today.