The Basics of Alimony
July 15, 2020
If you, a friend, or loved one are fearful of a divorce, or are currently going through a divorce, one of the big worries is money. For many, this monetary worry goes by the name alimony, but in Colorado, it’s known as spousal maintenance, or spousal support. No matter what you call it in conversation, it means the same thing: it could make or break things moving forward. For some spouses who need to receive it, they’re afraid they soon-to-be ex will hide assets, making it appear as if they don’t have enough money to spare for alimony, or at a minimum, driving down the amount they need to pay. For others, it could mean a giant chunk of their paycheck gone each and every month, setting them back financially for a stretch of time.
Are you, or some you know, worried about alimony payments? The best advice we can give is to immediately contact a Colorado Springs family law attorney to help you and work towards an agreeable amount with you former spouse. But, before you keep yourself awake at night worrying, let’s take a look at some basics about Colorado spousal support.
Firstly, there are two types of spousal maintenance you can — and likely will — encounter. The first is statutory maintenance, which is (usually) a temporary form of alimony issued by the judge when he declares the marriage has ended legally. With statutory maintenance, the terms are based on a percentage of the length of the marriage. By that, we mean that depending how long you were married, you could pay alimony for a shorter, or longer period of time. For more information on how long you may need to pay, or how long you could receive, alimony, contact our offices to go over the details of your marriage and we can help. As a point of reference, marriages that last 12 years, o more, often see a alimony length of 50% of the marriage, meaning that the alimony would last for 6 years after a 12 year marriage has been dissolved.
One thing to note about statutory maintenance is that it is possible to modify the terms, though it can be a long, difficult, and often uphill battle. For example, if the spouse paying alimony receives a promotion and significant raise, the former spouse receiving support could make an argument that the alimony amount should rise as well. Conversely, if you are the former spouse paying alimony, but lose your job, you can make the case that you cannot afford to sign the check for the initially determined amount and need it lowered. Some people aren’t fans of this ebb and flow and may opt for contractual and non-modifiable maintenance.
Just like the name says, two divorcees enter a contractual agreement for a spousal maintenance rate for an agreed upon amount of time and it cannot be changed, nor amended, regardless of circumstances. If you’re the spouse paying and lose your job, you’re legally required to come up with that money. If you receive spousal support and the payor gets a raise, you cannot request an amended, higher amount to reflect that income. It can be a risky move and it’s best to speak with a Colorado Springs family law attorney to determine if it’s the right option for you.
In order to determine the amount of alimony to be paid, obviously the first factor to be considered is income. However, there are a number of other factors that come into play to determine the amount, including the reliability of one party to meet payment guidelines and deadlines, which spouse will primarily care for any children from the marriage, the lifestyle both parties were accustomed to during the marriage, and more. Again, it’s best to speak with a family law attorney in Colorado Springs to help you make sure that you receive the amount you deserve, or do not pay more than you should.
Divorce is an unpleasant experience to say the least, but having a Colorado Springs family law attorney on your side makes the process a little more manageable and protects your income and assets down the line. If you have any questions, feel free to call our offices for more information and to learn how we can assist you.