Maintenance (Alimony)

Colorado recently changed the maintenance statute and included guidelines as to the amount and duration of maintenance. Judges are not required to follow the guidelines; however, judges are required to consider the guideline amount and additional factors whenever a party requests maintenance.

When a party is requesting maintenance, pursuant to C.R.S. §14-10-114 (3) (a) (I), the court must consider the following:

Each party’s gross income;

The marital property apportioned to each party;

The financial resources of each party, including but not limited to the actual or potential income from separate or marital property; and

Reasonable financial need as established during the marriage.

After considering the above factors, the court shall determine the amount and term of maintenance, if any, that is fair and equitable. In doing so, the judge must consider the guideline amount and term of maintenance.

The court shall award maintenance only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including marital property, to provide for his or her reasonable needs and is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it inappropriate for the spouse to be required to seek employment outside of the home.

The court still has discretion to determine an award of maintenance that is fair and equitable to both parties based upon the totality of the circumstances. The court shall make specific written or oral findings in support of the amount and term of maintenance awarded pursuant to this section or in an order denying maintenance.

In addition, the court may award additional marital property to the spouse requesting maintenance or otherwise adjust the distribution of property or debts to alleviate the need for maintenance or to reduce the amount or term of maintenance awarded.

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