Types of Spousal Maintenance

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Spousal maintenance, often referred to as alimony, is a court-ordered payment awarded to one party in a divorce or legal separation that is meant to provide financial support. As we’ve discussed before on our blog, spousal maintenance can take several distinct forms here in Colorado; there is temporary, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and permanent maintenance.

These are the types of spousal maintenance that can be awarded or agreed to in Colorado:

  1. Temporary Support: is paid by one spouse to the other during the divorce proceedings.
  2. Rehabilitative Support: is short-term support that extends beyond the resolution of the divorce for a specified period of time. The purpose is to give the lower-earning or non-earning spouse time to acquire additional skills and career training to become self-supporting. This type of support is most common in marriages where one spouse spent more time raising a family which had a negative impact on their career. The length of support can vary greatly depending on the length of the marriage and the age of the children, but it’s generally not more than five years. it is the most common type of spousal support.
  3. Reimbursement Support: is where one spouse pays for the other’s job training and/or education post-divorce. The spouse receiving the education and training will get reimbursed by the other spouse.
  4. Permanent Support: has become extremely rare. It is only ordered in extreme cases where one spouse is unable to become financially independent due to their age, disability, or illness.

Factors Which Determine Spousal Maintenance Eligibility

When a spouse requests spousal maintenance there are two important determinations. First, a judge will determine whether maintenance should be awarded at all, and second, the judge will determine the amount and duration of the payments. Each spouse can request spousal maintenance. Many people assume that only women are eligible for maintenance, but this is not the case.

When determining if a spouse is eligible for maintenance, judges in Colorado look at the following factors:

  • How the marital property was divided during the divorce itself
  • The financial needs of the requesting spouse
  • The financial capabilities of the paying spouse (i.e. property and income, income potential, etc.)
  • The current income of each spouse

People also often assume that spousal maintenance is granted in every divorce. However, this isn’t the case in Colorado. Judges will only award maintenance if it makes sense given the circumstances of the divorce. If the requesting spouse doesn’t need maintenance, then it won’t be granted.

Factors Which Determine Spousal Maintenance Amounts & Duration

After a judge determines if a spouse is eligible for maintenance, the judge will then determine the amount and duration of the payments. This determination requires the judge to analyze multiple factors such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The lifestyle of the couple during the marriage
  • The education and earning potential of each spouse at the time of divorce
  • The current financial condition of each spouse at the time of divorce
  • Monetary contributions to the marriage by each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse

Spousal maintenance is a critical issue in any divorce settlement. Working with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your options and choose the best one for your situation is crucial.

If you have any questions about spousal maintenance or your divorce, contact our team at the Drake Law Firm today by calling 720-790-4023.

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