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Does alimony ever end in Colorado?

Recently, we published a blog explaining how alimony -- otherwise known as spousal maintenance -- is generally calculated under Colorado law. However, now that you know how the amount of alimony is determined, the next question is when does it end?

Like most issues that must be resolved during a divorce, the answer to this question depends on several variables, the most important of which is the length of the marriage.

In fact, if the couple's marriage lasted for at least three years, but less than 20, the court will likely determine the duration of alimony using a set of statutory guidelines. However, these guidelines are only applicable if the couple's combined, annual adjusted gross income is not greater than $240,000.

However, if your combined income is $240,000 or less, alimony duration will be determined in whole months based on the length of the marriage. For instance, if you were to examine the alimony guideline table, you would see that alimony would be awarded for 21 months if the marriage lasted for five years (60 months).

Also, the longer the marriage, the longer alimony is ordered, both in actual months and in proportion to the length of marriage. For example, as mentioned above, a 5-year marriage would result in 21 months of alimony, which is a period of time equal to 35 percent of the marriage length (21 months/60 months).

Alternatively, if the marriage lasted 10 years (120 months), alimony would be ordered for 54 months, which is equal to 45 percent of the marriage length (54 months/120 months). Ultimately, these guidelines continue until 240 months, which is 20 years.

Once a marriage is longer than 20 years, however, the court has the discretion to order alimony for an indefinite term or for a specific number of months, although it cannot order it for a term that is less than 120 months unless it issues specifics finding that support this reduced amount. The court also has discretion when it comes to marriages of less than three years, and, in some cases, may not even award alimony when marriages last less than 36 months.

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