Alter Family Law

 

COLORADO SPOUSAL SUPPORT LAWYER

 “More for Less”

» Spousal Support Assessment

» Income Determination

» Connection to Asset Allocation

» Impact of Financial Resources

» Spousal Support Modification

» Spousal Support Deviation  

» Spousal Support Termination

» Retroactive Spousal Support

Providing legal advice, navigating the court system, calculation of spousal support, and representing your interests at settlement and in court if needed.   Guidance is given concerning the issues below and more.

General Considerations

What is Spousal Support in Colorado? 

Spousal support, also called alimony or spousal maintenance, is an income transfer from the higher to the lower earning spouse. 

What is the Purpose of Spousal Support?  

Its purpose, as stated by the legislature, is to help the spouses economically sustain themselves during and after the divorce.

How Can My Rights Be Protected as to Spousal Support?

Jeff assesses the chances of a temporary or more permanent alimony award, and advocates for or against the award depending on your position.  If you are owed money under the law, Jeff works to ensure you do not get less than you are entitled to.  If you owe money under the law, Jeff works to ensure you do not pay more than you are entitled not to.

How Often are Spousal Support Payments Usually Made?

Monthly.  However, different payment periods can be requested and ordered, such as when the payor would like the support payments to correspond with a twice a month employment payment.  Depending on the circumstances, the spousal support payment can be taken directly from the payor’s employer as a wage withholding.

 

Amount and Duration of Colorado Spousal Support

How is the Amount of Spousal Support Determined?

Colorado has statutory guidelines which provide a recommended support amount based on the parties’ incomes.  A judge often does, but is not required to follow the guidelines.  Jeff calculates the guideline amount for you. 

How Long is Spousal Support Paid?   

Colorado has statutory guidelines which provide a recommended length of time term for support payments based on the length of the marriage.   Jeff calculates that for you.  

Can I Have a Spousal Maintenance Example?

Sure.  The parties have been married for 10 years and earn 10k and 4k respectively.  Based on the January 2024 recommended guidelines, the higher income earner would pay monthly spousal support of $1.2k for 54 months.

Can a Judge Award Spousal Support that is Different from the Guidelines’ Recommended Amount?

Yes – If any relevant factors show a different amount would be reasonable and fair.  These include the parties’ financial resources, marriage lifestyle, historical incomes, age and health, award of marital property, contributions to the marriage, etc.   

Can We Agree to a Lump Sum of Spousal Maintenance Instead of Monthly Payments?

Yes.  You can agree to any amount.  Further, all the support in a lump sum is worth more than the same amount spread out over many months or years.  So, a lump sum is discounted to reflect that all the support immediately in hand is more valuable.  Jeff will help you figure out what the lump sum amount should be.  The value of a lump sum is that neither spouse needs to later worry about whether the payments will be made, and it terminates this otherwise continuing relationship.  A lump sum can be used to pay down a spousal support obligation as well so that there is a smaller support balance left.   

Can We Agree to No Spousal Maintenance?

Yes.  The parties often agree to no spousal maintenance for a variety of reasons including a belief that it is not appropriate in principle or that something else will be done instead.  Courts are fine with this agreement even if otherwise there would be a large spousal support obligation, as long as the parties know what the amount could be.  Unlike child support, Courts allow the parties to make their own decisions with spousal support.

Can Marital Property or Debt Be Awarded Instead of Spousal Maintenance?

Yes.  This is actually done frequently.  Like the lump sum payment discussed above, it can end this otherwise continuing relationship.  The property can be in any form such as a home, retirement account, or vehicle.  

What if We Disagree on a Spouse’s Income?

Jeff investigates the incomes of the parties to determine the appropriate amount to present and prove to the judge.  How this is done may depend on who Jeff’s client is – the one receiving or paying the support.  The role of an attorney is different from that of a judge.  Issues such as bonuses, monetary gifts, unemployment and underemployment are all examined.

 

Modification and Termination of Colorado Spousal Support

Is Spousal Support Modifiable?

Yes – Unless there is a special agreement that it is non-modifiable.  The party who wants it modified needs to show a change of circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the existing support order unfair.  An example would include a job change due to health reasons.  If the request for modification is successful, it is generally modified back to the date the motion to modify was filed.

Can Spousal Support Be Non-Modifiable?

Yes – provided the parties have a special written agreement that the support award is contractual, non-modifiable, and that the court no longer has any jurisdiction over the amount or term of the support award.  

Why Would Parties Agree to a Non-Modifiable Spousal Support Award? 

Because the one receiving the support wants to make sure it is guaranteed and can’t be modified downward.  The one paying the support wants to make sure it doesn’t go up.  The negotiation usually involves the support amount, because “guaranteed support” generally has a discount applied to it.

Does Remarriage Terminate the Spousal Support?

Yes – Unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

Does Cohabitation Terminate the Spousal Support?

No – Unless the parties have agreed otherwise.  This is an important point because a couple who would otherwise get married may choose to live together instead so that the spousal support will continue.

 

Can I Get Retroactive Spousal Support In Colorado?

Retroactive spousal support refers to spousal support payments that are ordered for a period before the requested formal spousal support order is established. In Colorado, as in many other jurisdictions, retroactive spousal support may be awarded under certain circumstances.  However, retroactive spousal support is not automatic, and the court will decide whether and to what extent to provide it.  A motion for spousal support (or modification) may be filed many months before the court issues the modification order.  Colorado law allows the court to award spousal support to cover the time between the order and the date the motion was filed.