How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Receive Alimony in Colorado?
Judges in Colorado have wide discretion when it comes to awarding alimony. Although the state’s statutory guidelines only apply to marriages lasting from three to 20 years, judges review the circumstances of each case individually when a spouse requests alimony.
The following article briefly discusses marriage length and its effect on Colorado spousal maintenance. For specific information or a case consultation, contact an experienced Colorado divorce attorney.
Colorado’s Spousal Maintenance Guidelines
In Colorado, alimony is referred to as spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance payments are typically dependent on the length of a marriage.
Colorado has guidelines the court may use for marriages lasting from three to 20 years when setting spousal maintenance payments. The guidelines help the court in determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments.
Colorado’s spousal maintenance guidelines are as follows:
- At three years, spousal maintenance is set at 31% of combined adjusted gross income for 11 months;
- At five years, spousal maintenance is set at 35% of combined adjusted gross income for 21 months;
- At ten years, spousal maintenance is set at 45% of combined adjusted gross income for 54 months;
- At 15 years, spousal maintenance is set at 50% of combined adjusted gross income for 90 months; and
- At 20 years, spousal maintenance is set at 50% of combined adjusted gross income for 120 months.
These are only guidelines. The court must consider and make initial findings about spousal maintenance whenever it receives a request for support from a spouse regardless of marriage length.
The Court Must Consider a Spouse’s Request for Spousal Maintenance
The court must consider and make initial oral and written findings about a spouse’s request for maintenance.
In its findings, the court must examine the following:
- Each party’s gross income;
- The marital property distribution;
- Each party’s financial resources;
- Reasonable financial need; and
- The tax consequences of spousal maintenance for each party.
Only after making these initial findings can the court determine whether it will award spousal maintenance.
When the Spousal Maintenance Guidelines Do Not Apply
When a marriage lasts less than three years but may be suitable for spousal support, the court may award maintenance under certain circumstances. For example, a spousal maintenance award may be used in cases where property distribution is not sufficient to provide an equitable division of property between the spouses.
Spousal maintenance may also be awarded in marriages of less than three years when the requesting spouse is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it inappropriate for the spouse to seek employment outside the home.
There must be a strong argument and evidence for the court to deviate from the spousal maintenance guidelines in marriages under three years. An experienced divorce attorney can help prepare and build a spousal maintenance case for you if you are in this situation.
Contact an Experienced Broomfield Divorce Attorney Today
At Danielsen Westhoff, PC, our experienced Broomfield divorce attorneys can help you prepare and defend your spousal maintenance case. We are compassionate, dedicated family law attorneys who know what it takes to protect your rights in any family law matter.
Reach out to Danielsen Westhoff, PC, in our Broomfield office today to schedule your divorce consultation. Our attorneys are ready to help you make informed decisions and guide you through the divorce process.