One question many couples have about divorce is whether the court will order one spouse to pay the other alimony, which is actually known as spousal maintenance in Colorado.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question since alimony awards largely depend on the specifics of each case. Indeed, a court may examine a wide range of factors and statutes when determining whether alimony is appropriate or not.
For instance, under current Colorado law, if a couple has been married for at least three years, but less than 20 years, the court may use statutory guidelines to determine alimony amounts and duration - but only if the couple's combined, annual adjusted gross income is not greater than $240,000.
Typically, when these guidelines are applied, alimony payments will equal 40 percent of the higher-earning spouse's monthly adjusted gross income, minus 50 percent of the lower-earning spouse's monthly adjusted gross income.
For example, if the higher-earning spouse makes $8,000/month and the lower-earning spouse makes $2,000/month, the alimony payment would equal $2,200/month ($3,200, which is 40 percent of $8,000, minus $1,000, which is 50 percent of $2,000). These payments would typically continue for a period of time set out in the guidelines.
However, it is worth pointing out that these guidelines may not apply if the couple's combined income is more than $240,000, or if they were married for less than three years (or more than 20 years). In some cases, a court may even award permanent, indefinite alimony when a couple has been married for more than two decades.
It is also important to remember that the information above is simply a general outline of alimony laws in Colorado. In fact, depending on the circumstances, several other factors and/or statutory provisions may come into play - not to mention that laws can change at any time.
This is why it is always best to speak with an experienced family law attorney if you have any questions about alimony/spousal maintenance.