Posted by: Vernon Ready
For many, divorce changes everything: where you live, who you’re living with, your employment status, your relationship with the people closest to you, and so on. A lot of these things are up in the air throughout the divorce process, which can leave your future at a standstill for months while the judge is trying to make his or her decisions.
Colorado does have standards on how to determine things like dividing property, alimony, and child support, which seems like it would be helpful in giving you a good picture of what your finances will look like, right? Absolutely.
Unfortunately, these standards involve several different factors and can be a bit complicated to figure out on your own. That’s why we decided to create this guide. Below we’re going to help you figure out whether or not you qualify for alimony, as well as how much you are likely to get.
Colorado judges do not award alimony payments in every divorce ruling, but if it is necessary to allow a spouse to eventually reach financial stability, a judge will instruct the higher earner in the marriage to pay the lower earner a certain amount in alimony each month.
If you expect that you will receive alimony payments, keep in mind that they will not last forever. Alimony is most often treated as a way for one spouse to help the other get back on their feet after a divorce. Unless the spouse is not able to find a job due to a disability or their age, alimony will be a temporary payment.
There are a few factors that will determine the amount of alimony (or “spousal maintenance”) you will receive, and for how long.
The combined amount of earned income is one of the first factors a judge will consider. If both spouses earn less than $75,000 a year, the judge will order the higher earning spouse to pay 40% of their income, minus 50% of the lower earner’s income.
So if the higher earning spouse earns $30,000 a year and the lower earning spouse makes $20,000 a year, the judge would use the following formula to determine the starting point for alimony:
(40% x $30,000) – (50% x $20,000) = X
Because 40% of $30,000 is $12,000 and 50% of $20,000 is $10,000, X in this case equals $2,000.
So the alimony payments would equal roughly $2,000 a year, depending on the amount of spousal maintenance or child support that each spouse is already paying or receiving.
For higher-earning couples or more complicated divorces, other factors will come into play. A judge may also consider the following when determining alimony payments:
“Fault,” or reasons behind the divorce, will not play into how much a spouse will receive in alimony payments.
Of course, spouses can always agree on an alimony payment or plan without the need for a judge or an official trial.
If you and your spouse have an idea of how much you would like to receive in alimony for a certain period of time, or would like to figure out that amount together and outside of a courtroom, contact a Colorado divorce lawyer.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.