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What factors affect spousal maintenance in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Family Law News

It can be difficult for some divorced Colorado residents to support themselves without their spouse’s income. That is why Colorado divorce courts will often award spousal maintenance or support to a divorcing spouse who has been out of the workforce for a while or who earned significantly less money than their partner during the marriage.

If spousal support is awarded, the payer spouse, or the higher-earning spouse, will typically be expected to make monthly payments to the payee spouse, or the lesser-earning spouse. The courts will determine the amount paid each month and the duration of these payments based on the factors listed under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-114. These factors include:

  • Duration of the marriage (longer marriages generally lead to more spousal support).
  • Spouses’ current incomes, financial resources, and earning capacity (based on education, employment history, job skills/training, etc.).
  • Age and health of both spouses.
  • Child custody arrangements if the couple has children together.
  • Contributions of each spouse to the marriage (economic and non-economic).
  • Lifestyle maintained during the marriage.

In addition to these specific factors, the court is allowed to consider any other factor it deems as relevant to the matter at hand.

When does spousal maintenance end?

In Colorado, a payer spouse will have to make spousal maintenance payments in accordance court’s determination. However, spousal maintenance orders can be modified if one party can demonstrate a significant change in circumstances. Spousal maintenance may also come to an end entirely if:

  • The pre-determined end date stated in the maintenance order arrives.
  • Either spouse dies.
  • The payee spouse gets remarried.
  • The court orders that the maintenance payments be terminated.

Spousal maintenance is a complex family law issue that can be impacted by several variables. Both higher-earning and lower-earning spouses should also consider how spousal maintenance may impact heir taxes.