Colorado Divorce: What is Spousal Maintenance?

Filed Under (Divorce and Legal Separation) on 06-06-2013

Alimony support, How can I get spousal support?, Alimony and divorce, What is alimony?

Spousal Maintenance is a series of payments (or a lump sum payment) made by one separated spouse to the other, or to some third party (such as the Credit Union for a car loan) on behalf of the  receiving spouse. It is also known as “alimony” or “spousal support”. There are two kinds of Maintenance that may work for your unique circumstances.

Open-ended maintenance is of unlimited or undetermined duration and presumed to be modifiable as circumstances change. It may be used for a variety of purposes including the following:

•    To balance income between spouses in two households;

•    To provided long term full or supplemental income for a spouse, based on need;

•    To meet on-going expenses with tax-deductible dollars;

•    To pay spousal support with business income.

Fixed term maintenance is paid for a designated period of time or until a certain amount of money is paid. It is generally for a specific purpose and is often referred to as contractual or in gross. It may be used for different purposes including the following:

•    To pay specific marital debts;

•    To pay specific expenses for children or spouse;

•    To pay for training, education, or therapy of a spouse;

•    To balance property division

So now you may be wondering how the amount of maintenance is determined in Colorado. Up until recently judges had no formula for determining permanent spousal maintenance. Colorado House Bill 1058 was signed this past legislative session creating a process for determining an award for spousal maintenance at temporary or permanent orders in proceedings for dissolution of marriage and legal separation, including guidelines as to amount and term. The new law is effective on January 1, 2014 and will give judges a very detailed guide to appropriate payments, based largely on the length of the marriage. Stay tuned for a post that will discuss this new Bill.

For more detailed information on spousal maintenance, check out the Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado: How to Plan, Negotiate and File Your Divorce, 8th Edition  by M. Arden Hauer, MA, JD