New spousal maintenance law coming to Colorado

When a couple starts strongly considering a divorce, it is natural for the spouses to start thinking about what will happen during the process, and what their new lives will be like once the divorce is final. For some, this can lead to hesitancy in beginning the divorce proceedings, because they may not be comfortable with making such a major change. If they decide to move forward, the process can quickly become overwhelming.

In many marriages, one of the spouses may decide to sacrifice a career in order to raise the children or otherwise assist the marriage in some way. When these couples go through a divorce, these individuals often receive spousal maintenance or support for these actions. However, there can be a substantial variation in the amounts that are awarded by the courts, so it is difficult for these individuals to be able to completely plan for their future after the divorce is finalized.

Colorado has recently passed a new law that attempts to resolve some of the discrepancies that can arise in spousal maintenance awards. The new law gives courts some guidance as to how the awards should be determined, by way of setting up a new formula that states the amount and duration of support that is to be awarded. It applies to those marriages lasting longer than three years where the combined income of the couple is less than $240,000.

The more years a couple has been married, the more maintenance that the formula will grant to the party requesting the financial support. The amount that will be received will depend on several factors, including the spouse's ability to pay, the other spouse's need, and the inability of the spouse to support him- or herself financially.

The formula has been drawing some criticism, as it may lead to awards that are more than those typically being awarded in current divorce cases. The law goes into effect on January 1st, and will impact divorces being filed at that time. The formula is just a guideline, so the judges will still be able to depart when they feel it is necessary.

If you are considering a divorce, you might have questions about your specific situation. You should contact an experienced family law attorney to help you as you go through the process. An attorney can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that keep many couples from being able to bring the matter to a close.

A divorce is never going to be an easy thing to go through, but you can take steps that will prepare you for all of the things that could happen as you go through the process. You need to protect yourself during your divorce, because it is easy to get involved in discussions that only serve to drag out the proceedings.