Mitch Tacy Family Law

Fort Collins Maintenance and Spousal Support (formerly called Alimony)

Mitch Tacy Fort Collins Spousal Support Attorney

Fort Collins Spousal Support Attorney

There are many factors in determining whether maintenance may be awarded in a Colorado divorce. A driving factor is if one spouse needs the support and the other has the ability to pay.

The most important rule of obtaining maintenance is that you must request it at the time of divorce: it cannot be requested after the divorce decree is entered. Be certain that you will not need maintenance prior to agreeing to waive your right to request it forever. If you request a small amount of maintenance it will keep the door open to go back in the future and request more maintenance. Make sure that you find an experienced Fort Collins spousal support attorney.

Two Types of Maintenance- Contractual Maintenance and Court Ordered Maintenance

Contractual Maintenance is when both parties in a divorce decide the amount and the term of maintenance. You sign a contract called a Separation Agreement, the terms of the Separation Agreement forever control the maintenance and those terms are non-modifiable.

Court Ordered Maintenance  occurs when the parties in a divorce cannot agree on maintenance, then the amount and term is determined by the Court. Court ordered maintenance is modifiable. If one party experiences a substantial change of circumstances, such as a loss of employment, a motion can be made to modify.

How it Works

Larimer County and Weld County Courts can award temporary maintenance, while the divorce action is pending in court.

To request a maintenance order that will be in effect after the divorce is granted, a party must meet a different standard. The Court will consider several factors for permanent maintenance, including the following:

  • A party’s ability to support himself or herself, taking into consideration how marital property was divided between the parties and any child support awards that might include money for a wife or husband;
  • The time needed for a wife or husband to obtain education or training needed to support himself or herself, and how much he or she might be able to earn in the future;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage,
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of the wife or husband seeking maintenance; and
  • The ability of the wife or husband who would be ordered to pay maintenance to support himself or herself while paying maintenance.

Guideline Maintenance amount and term of support payments

There is a new Colorado “guideline” formula for helping to determine spousal support if the duration of the parties’ marriage is at least three years and the parties’ combined, annual adjusted gross income does not exceed the three hundred sixty thousand dollars. The amount of maintenance under the guidelines is equal to forty percent of the higher income party’s monthly adjusted gross income less fifty percent of the lower income party’s monthly adjusted gross income; except that, when added to the gross income of the recipient, shall not result in the recipient receiving in excess of forty percent of the parties’ combined monthly adjusted gross income.

For example if the husband’s gross income is $100,000 and the wife’s gross income is $10,000 the annual maintenance for the wife would be $35,000 per year = (40% x 100k) – (50% x 10k).

Colorado’s new spousal support guidelines designate a “proposed” period of maintenance dependent upon the length of the marriage. Click here to see the guidelines for the “term” or “duration” of maintenance in Colorado.

Ultimately the final award of spousal maintenance and the duration that it will be received is determined by the Judge in your divorce case. Mitch Tacy can help you determine what amount of maintenance will be most likely acceptable to the Court based on the legal guidelines available. Call now for a consultation 970-214-8840

The Downside to Requesting Maintenance or Spousal Support

  • The downside to maintenance or spousal support is that it is taxable income to the receiver.
  • Maintenance will reduce child support payments because child support is determined by putting the gross monthly income of parties together and maintenance counts as income.
  • Spousal Support is a debt obligation and if for some reason the payer loses their job or is injured and cannot pay, what are you going to do?
  • Spousal support or maintenance is contrary to the dissolution of marriage. If you want to dissolve the relationship and move on independently you may want to look at alternatives to Spousal Support.

Alternatives to Spousal Support/Maintenance

It is often recommended that spouses in need of maintenance look at what their needs are and swap maintenance for a greater allocation of property or martial assets.

Because maintenance is a taxable income it may be preferable for the moneyed party to pay the non moneyed parties debts such as car payments, credit card bills, mortgage payments and home equity loans, this reduces the non-moneyed parties taxable income. For example if you are getting $2,000 a month in spousal support you need to figure out what the after tax benefit or consequences are.

Mitch Tacy Family Law Attorney & Mediator
155 E. Boardwalk Drive, Suite 464, Fort Collins, CO 80525
1635 Foxtrail Drive, Suite 356, Loveland, CO 80538

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