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Colorado’s New Alimony Law For Divorcing Couples

Daniel Noffsinger - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Divorce can be a stressful, emotional event for the husband and wife, as well as other family members. Divorce is a complicated process that requires the detailed attention and care of an experienced divorce attorney. During the divorce process, there are a variety of issues that need to be resolved, including alimony (now referred to as ‘spousal maintenance’), child support, distribution of marital property, child custody, and parental visitation rights. Separately, each of these issues involves a multitude of questions and concerns, which may further complicate or delay the divorce process.

The issue of spousal maintenance can be one of the most frequently debated issues during the divorce process. Spousal maintenance is a legal obligation that requires the husband or wife to make financial payments to the other party after the divorce. Usually, there is a natural tension between the parties concerning the calculation of alimony; the husband or wife wants to pay as little alimony as possible to the other party, while the other party wants to receive as much alimony as possible.

If the divorcing couple is unable to agree on the amount and length of spousal maintenance payments, then a court will decide for the them. Up until 1 January 2014, Colorado’s spousal maintenance law lacked specific guidelines for courts to apply in awarding alimony payments. This caused courts to enter inconsistent and unfair maintenance awards between jurisdictions.

Colorado’s New Alimony Law

Last year, however, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper enacted a new maintenance law, which changed how alimony awards are to be calculated for divorcing couples in Colorado. Specifically, the new law, which took effect 1 January 2014, provides a formula and guidelines for Colorado courts to follow when awarding spousal maintenance payments.

The guidelines help calculate the amount and length of payments for marriages lasting between 3 and 20 years and when the annual combined income does not exceed $240,000. The guidelines also give assistance to the Courts in determining the amount of spousal maintenance payments. It is important to note, however, that the new guidelines are not mandatory and that courts are free to deviate from the formula. The final decision still rests with each judge.

The intent of the law was to promote more consistent spousal maintenance awards. What is more, the law was intended to help women with children, who have a lower median income than men with children. Women's Lobby, a proponent of the new alimony law, argued that, “it would promote settlement and successful mediation, reduce litigation, and prevent women and families from falling into poverty.”

Contact a Divorce Attorney For Help Today

If you have any questions regarding Colorado’s new spousal maintenance law or the divorce process, Noffsinger Law can help you. We understand that divorce is not easy. At Noffsinger Law, want to help you with this process to ensure that everything goes as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. We will do everything to protect your rights and put your mind at ease.

Contact an experienced divorce attorney today for help today. You can visit our Colorado Springs law office or give our office a call at 719-368-3688.