Divorce is a complex, multifaceted, and emotionally stressful ordeal for everyone who experiences it. If you plan to end your marriage in Colorado Springs in the near future, it’s vital to know what your divorce case entails beyond ending your marriage contract. One of the most commonly cited points of contention in modern divorce cases is spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. An experienced Colorado Springs spousal maintenance attorney can provide clarity and valuable guidance in handling this and the other economic factors your divorce case is likely to entail.
The attorneys at Johnson Law Group offer years of experience with family law to our clients in the Colorado Springs area. We understand that you probably have lots of questions concerning the financial aspects of your divorce case. It’s natural to want to preserve your best interests and financial future when you are bracing for divorce, and our team can provide the legal counsel you need to reach a fair and reasonable spousal maintenance agreement.
Technically, hiring an attorney is not a strict requirement for a divorce in Colorado Springs. It is possible to navigate your case alone and secure a divorce order without the help of a lawyer. However, if you choose this route, you are more likely to end up with an imbalanced divorce order that does not suitably meet your financial needs or expectations.
When there is a significant difference in income between two divorcing spouses, spousal maintenance or alimony is likely to come into play in the couple’s divorce proceedings. As your divorce case unfolds, your Colorado Springs spousal maintenance lawyer can provide reassurance and ongoing support. When it comes to the spousal maintenance determination aspect of your case, your legal team will be an invaluable asset in confirming all the financial details that demand consideration for this matter. Ultimately, you are not only more likely to secure a more favorable spousal maintenance agreement with an attorney’s help, but you are also more likely to obtain a better divorce order with their assistance.
There is a very specific formula for calculating spousal maintenance in a Colorado divorce. First, the court will multiply the combined monthly incomes of the divorcing spouses by 40% and then subtract the lower-earning spouse’s income. All divorce judgments entered after January 1, 2019, include tax-free spousal maintenance; the result must then be reduced further by another 20%. The final result is the amount of spousal support the higher-earning spouse must pay each month.
The court will also take additional financial matters into account when determining alimony. For example, if the couple has children, the judge handling their divorce will take child custody, child support, and the outcome of property division into consideration when determining spousal support.
This formula applies whenever divorcing spouses do not have a prenuptial contract in place when they divorce. Couples who sign prenuptial agreements typically cover all of the financial aspects of their marriage and essentially construct a blueprint for a future divorce if they decide to end their marriage. While many people hold unfavorable misconceptions about prenuptial agreements, the reality is that these contracts can provide financial security and peace of mind as a couple begins their marriage.
Johnson Law Group has years of experience providing comprehensive legal counsel to our Colorado Springs-area clients in divorce. We understand that no two divorce cases are alike, and you probably have lots of questions specific to your unique situation. The following are some of the most common questions our team hears from prospective clients regarding spousal support in Colorado divorce. Review these questions and our answers to enhance your understanding of the state laws in place pertaining to spousal maintenance.
Q: How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support in Colorado?
A: Alimony will come up in divorce if a couple has been married for at least 36 months. The court will require alimony payments to continue for 11 months. If the couple has been married 12.5 years or longer, the judge will likely order alimony to continue for half the length of the marriage. If a couple has been married for a very long time, typically 20 years or more, alimony may continue permanently.
Q: What Is “Reasonable” Spousal Maintenance?
A: The purpose of spousal maintenance is to allow the recipient to maintain a similar standard of living to that they had while married and provide the financial support they need to eventually become self-sufficient. Typically, alimony exists to compensate a spouse who earns less income and owns less separate property. Therefore, what is “reasonable” in terms of alimony depends on the difference in income and property division between the divorcing spouses.
Q: How Can I Get Out of Paying Spousal Support?
A: A prenuptial contract is the best way to avoid paying alimony in a future divorce, but this requires foresight and your spouse’s agreement. If you do not have a prenuptial contract and alimony comes up in your divorce proceedings, you may have no choice but to abide by the court’s determination. Some divorcing spouses may successfully negotiate greater marital property to the recipient in lieu of alimony, but judges decide these issues on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Can Anything Cancel a Spousal Support Obligation?
A: Many alimony agreements include specific clauses pertaining to terminating actions. A terminating action is any action that cancels the paying spouse’s spousal support obligation. For example, a judge may state that spousal maintenance will end if the recipient cohabitates with a new partner. Review your alimony agreement carefully to determine which terminating actions apply to your divorce order.
Hopefully, these frequently asked questions and answers will help you understand how spousal maintenance works in Colorado divorce cases. However, you likely have more questions unique to your situation, and the attorneys at Johnson Law Group can help you address these issues effectively. We take time to get to know every client’s situation and goals so they can approach their divorce with greater confidence. Contact us today to schedule your case review with an experienced Colorado Springs spousal maintenance attorney and learn more about the legal services we can provide in your divorce case.