Spousal maintenance, which is also known as alimony or spousal support, refers to financial support paid by one spouse to the other both during and after a divorce. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to help the recipient spouse maintain a standard of living that is similar to what they enjoyed during the marriage. It is not meant to provide a windfall for the recipient, nor is it intended to be a punishment for the person ordered to pay maintenance.
Temporary maintenance can be awarded during the divorce proceedings and is intended to provide financial support to the recipient spouse until the divorce is final. Maintenance ordered at the conclusion of a divorce is awarded to help the recipient spouse become self-sufficient, typically through education or training, and is usually awarded for a specific period of time. Permanent maintenance, though rare, may be awarded in cases where the recipient spouse is unable to become self-sufficient due to age, disability, or other factors.
Under Colorado law, even though there is a guideline on how to calculate spousal maintenance, maintenance is not an automatic right. Instead, it is a discretionary award that is granted based on a variety of factors to determine whether it is appropriate and how much should be paid. These factors include the length of the marriage, the income and earning capacity of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and the financial resources of each spouse.
It is important to note that spousal maintenance orders are not set in stone. They can be modified or terminated if circumstances change, such as if the recipient spouse becomes self-sufficient, if the paying spouse experiences a significant change in income, or if the maintenance term has expired.
In summary, spousal maintenance laws in Colorado are designed to help ensure that both spouses are able to maintain a reasonable standard of living following a divorce. The laws take into account a variety of factors and are intended to be fair and equitable. If you are going through a divorce in Colorado and have questions about spousal maintenance, contact Knies, Helland, and McPherson Law as our attorneys are experienced in litigating spousal maintenance on behalf of both the payor and recipient.