Experienced Counsel For Colorado Alimony Conflicts
Financial security is one of the top concerns that individuals have when getting divorced. It is common for one spouse to make significantly more money than the other spouse, which leaves the less financially secure spouse worried about paying bills. I am Tucker M. Katz, Attorney at Dietze & Davis, P.C., a Boulder family law attorney who provides customized and comprehensive legal guidance regarding the establishment of spousal maintenance.
In addition to representing an individual at the time initial spousal support orders are set, I represent clients who seek a modification of a spousal support order. If a party is failing to fulfill his or her financial obligations regarding spousal support or child support orders, I can petition the court to enforce the order through wage garnishment or some other means. I will review the facts of your case, provide a realistic assessment of what you can expect to pay or receive in spousal maintenance and recommend the best steps to take.
Who Can Receive Spousal Maintenance?
In order to be entitled to an award of maintenance, the spouse seeking maintenance in a divorce must prove he or she lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her needs. He or she must also be unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment. Or, that a parent is a custodian for a child whose condition makes it inappropriate for the spouse to seek employment outside of the home. In most cases, a spouse who stayed home to raise children or whose income is significantly less than the other spouse is entitled to spousal support or alimony.
How Does Colorado Determine Alimony Amounts?
Under Colorado family law, spousal support is based on a number of factors, including:
- The earning capacities of both parties
- The standard of living that was established during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of the parties
Colorado House Bill 13-1058, which takes effect in January 2014, establishes advisory guidelines for the amount and duration of maintenance. The guidelines do not create a presumptive amount or term of maintenance; rather, the court still maintains discretion to determine a fair and reasonable amount of maintenance based on the totality of the circumstances. The new law provides that the guideline amount of maintenance is equal to 40 percent of the monthly adjusted gross income of the higher-income earner less 50 percent of the lower-income party’s monthly adjusted gross income. When the guideline amount of maintenance is added to the recipient spouse’s gross income, the amount shall not exceed 40 percent of the parties’ combined monthly adjusted income.
For example, if the higher-earning spouse makes $6,000 per month and the lower-earning spouse makes $3,000 per month, 40 percent of $6,000 is $2,400 and 50 percent of $3,000 is $1,500. Subtracting $1,500 from $2,400 leaves $900, which is the monthly amount awarded to the spouse with the smaller income. This formula does not apply to couples with a total net income over $360,000. For those cases, the courts will continue to weigh a number of discretionary factors. The new guidelines also provide a table for the term (length) of a maintenance obligation. The guidelines are applicable to marriages between three and 20 years in length. The court has broad discretion when determining the length of a maintenance obligation for short-term marriages (less than three years) and long-term marriages (greater than 25 years).
Seek Help With Spousal Maintenance Today
When you need assistance with alimony and related family law concerns, you can turn to Tucker M. Katz, Attorney at Dietze & Davis, P.C. Call 303-872-8041 or use my online contact form to schedule an appointment.