Colorado Springs Alimony Attorney
Spousal Maintenance Lawyers That Will Fight for You
We know that when people go through a
divorce it can feel like their world is being turned upside down, and that one
of the reasons is uncertainty about the financial future. This can be
particularly true in marriages where one spouse earned a higher income
than the other.
The reasons for the income disparity can include how decisions regarding
child-raising were made to how educations were financed, and more. Whatever
the reason is, alimony–or spousal maintenance as its legally termed
in the state of Colorado--is aimed at redressing unfair imbalance.
A Colorado Springs alimony lawyer will help you fight to maintain your
standard of living after the divorce. Call us today at (719) 626-8530 or contact us online.
What Spousal Maintenance Does
To understand the purposes of spousal maintenance, it’s also important
to understand what it is
Spousal maintenance is not
child support. Each parent, regardless of whether they have physical
custody of the children, must contribute to the costs of raising the kids. Child
support payments are based exclusively on the cost of that child-rearing,
and are a separate item altogether in the final divorce settlement agreement.
Spousal maintenance is not about how financial assets are distributed.
Both spouses are considered equal owners of all marital property, which
is broadly defined as that which was acquired during the marriage. The
fact an economically disadvantaged spouse might be an equal owner of the
other spouse’s 401(k) money does
not amount to spousal maintenance.
What spousal maintenance
is aimed at doing is allowing both spouses to live in the manner they were
accustomed to during the marriage. Now, it’s possible that might
not be feasible—perhaps neither will live as well on their own as
they did in the marriage-- but it is a standard that is aimed at by Colorado
Factors That Impact Alimony
Colorado law offers judges the opportunity to use a basic formula to calculate
alimony payments–start with 40 percent of the higher income and
then subtract 50 percent of the lower income.
Did they make your head spin a bit? Don’t worry. Let’s say
the higher-earning spouse is a software engineer pulling down $110,000
a year. The lower-earning spouse works part-time as an office manager
and makes $30,000 a year, while taking care of the three grade-school
Under the basic formula, you take 40 percent of the $110K salary (which
is $44,000) and then subtract 50 percent of the $30K salary (which is
$15,000). That leaves us with $29,000. Spread out over a year, that amounts
to a monthly spousal maintenance payment of $2,416.67.
However, note something said at the top of this section–this is merely
a formula that a Colorado judge has the opportunity to use. The judge
is not required to use this. What’s more, the judge is not even
mandated to use the figure derived from the formula as a rebuttable presumption–which
means it would serve as a baseline which the spouses could then disagree
with (or “rebut”) if they saw fit. The basic formula is just
one possible option.
In the event, the judge opts against the basic formula, the discussion
over spousal maintenance will hinge on factors like the length of the
marriage, respective incomes of the spouses, the job skills of the spouses,
investments made in either one’s career with common funds, and their
prospects moving forward.
Types of Alimony in Colorado
Alimony, whatever the final amount ends up as, can be awarded three different
- Permanent Alimony: As the name suggests, this is alimony that goes on until
one of the spouses dies. It is rare for this to be awarded, but there
are circumstances where it can be appropriate.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This is when it’s determined that one spouse
will eventually be able to earn the income necessary to sustain the lifestyle
enjoyed in the marriage, but it will take some time and perhaps some professional
training to get up to speed. Rehabilitative alimony is intended to cover
costs associated with that.
- Reimbursement Alimony: Our example above considered a software engineer
and an office manager .What if the software engineer advanced in their
career because, early in the marriage, the couple decided to invest money
into getting them the necessary education and certifications to move forward?
The spouse at an economic disadvantage still deserves to share in the
fruit of that investment. At the very least, reimbursement alimony can
cover the money already sunk into training and education.
A lot goes into a fair spousal maintenance agreement and a Colorado Springs
alimony attorney from our office will make sure all the right questions
are asked. Call us today at (719) 626-8530 or contact us online.
Practical Application of the Law
What we’ve outlined above is the legal architecture within which
judges operate and divorce lawyers negotiate. To better illustrate how
it might work in the real world, let’s develop a hypothetical scenario
and consider different variables…
A young couple got married right after one of them left the Air Force after
the first Gulf War. Over the ensuing thirty years, they’ve had four
children, of which the non-military spouse devoted themselves full-time
to raising. The Air Force veteran started a computer consulting business,
which has gone on to thrive. Now,
that marriage is coming to an end. What happens?
This is a case where permanent alimony might be argued for. The couple
is enjoying a comfortable lifestyle. That financial success is due, in
no small part, to the fact that the stay-at-home spouse took on the burden
of child-raising and allowed the other to focus like a laser on building
the consulting business. Age-wise, the couple is presumably at least in
The stay-at-home spouse is certainty able to get a job, especially now
that all the kids are out of the house. But, after thirty years out of
the workforce, to get employment that will sustain the lifestyle enjoyed
during the marriage? That’s a steep hill to climb and a court may
well decide to award permanent alimony. If one of the kids is now a disabled
adult child that must live at home, the case for permanent alimony is
Now let’s consider this same couple, getting married at the same
time in their lives. In this circumstance though, the non-Air Force spouse
got their law degree from Boulder. In this scenario, they have the four
kids, the lawyer spouse does stay at home with the kids, but the marriage
ends after 12 years. What happens?
Here, we might be looking at a case for rehabilitative alimony. The spouse
with the law degree is well-positioned to enter the workforce and earn
a comfortable salary. They just need time to get networked again and perhaps
need some updating of appropriate licenses. In a divorce case, expert
witness testimony might be summoned to help the court better understand
how long this process will take and how much it will cost.
But, the spouse with the law degree argues, they still have the four kids.
Those kids are at home. The economically disadvantaged spouse will presumably
be in strong position to secure physical custody, in the interests of
keeping the children’s lives as stable as possible. Is this spouse
really in a prime spot to begin an aggressive career launch with this level of
Within this single example, we could weave in even more variables. What
if the Air Force spouse helped pay for the other spouse’s law school
at CU? What if the stay-at-home spouse did legal work on the computer
consulting business? The list goes on.
What all of this underscores is that
in a spousal maintenance case everything matters. Every detail of how spouses acquired their income and what made it possible.
Every detail about their prospects moving forward. Spouses who are going
through what is often an emotionally traumatic time aren’t likely
to think of all the pertinent details and remember all the right questions to ask.
That’s why divorce attorneys are here.
Knies, Helland & McPherson Law has decades of experience handling divorce
cases. The experience of dealing with so many couples in so many different
situations enables us to better understand what factors will work in your
favor in a spousal maintenance negotiation. We leverage that experience
and fight hard for the best interests of our clients. Call us today at
(719) 626-8530 or
contact us online and let us help you next .