Alimony in Colorado may differ from other states, but it has the same definition: a financial payment that can be sought during a divorce, as well as after. It can help one partner adjust to the changes they are going through in their life. But every state has its own set of rules regarding spousal support.
Let’s take a look at what laws apply to Colorado:
What Is Spousal Support in Colorado?
If you wonder what spousal support in Colorado is, this is another name for alimony. Also referred to as spousal maintenance, this is a financial payment made to support a partner when they divorce from their husband or wife. The purpose of alimony is to allow them to maintain their standards of living after they have broken up with their partner.
Alimony in Colorado is decided in court. A judge will look at all of the circumstances of a case to award spousal support. This means that every award is going to be different and unique. It allows for the best results to occur for everyone.
Are There Guidelines for Awarding Alimony in Colorado?
Yes, there are now guidelines that a judge must follow when they are going to award spousal maintenance. Before 2018, there were inconsistencies when it came to the maintenance that was awarded to parties. Judges were offering huge differences in financial support across the state. This led to unfairness. So, legislation was passed in 2018 that would change this.
From 2018, guidelines are being used in family courts in order to keep alimony awards fair to all parties. Of course, this is not a strict guideline, and judges still have a lot of freedom in awarding the right amount for the partners involved. But, it does mean that there is some guidance, and they cannot resort to absurd or largely different payments.
What Factors Will a Judge Consider for Deciding on Alimony Payments?
There are a number of factors for a judge to think about. But, one of the main ones is the income of each party. Primarily, one partner will be disadvantaged from the divorce and the other party will have a higher income. Thus, this plays a part in deciding how much alimony should be paid.
Some other factors that a judge will look at include the lifestyle of each partner and what they enjoyed during the marriage. Spousal support should allow the other person to continue this after the divorce.
Personal factors are a consideration too. This includes the health of each spouse, as well as their age. Their education will play a part, and how easy it would be to get another job if one is unemployed.
Does the Length of Marriage Matter in Colorado?
Yes, unlike in many other states, it can matter how long you have been married to your partner. For example, this is going to be the case with statutory maintenance that a judge can award.
There is an alimony term chart, which can outline the spousal support and how long it should last. Namely, if you have been married for a long time, you are more likely to receive alimony for longer. A judge will use the length of the marriage to calculate the term of the payments.
For example, if you have been married for 20 years, this can mean that a judge can order alimony to be paid for 10 years.
Does this chart seem fair?
It is based on the principle that if a partner needs financial support, they are likely to need it for longer if they have relied on their married partner for a long time.
Does Infidelity Play a Part in How Much Alimony Is Awarded?
No, infidelity by one of the partners in a marriage is not going to be a factor a judge takes into account when it comes to spousal support.
In other words, it does not matter if one person has cheated on the other during the marriage. This is not something that affects how much someone pays. It will not increase or decrease the financial support.
It is often a misconception that someone can be punished for infidelity and have to pay more.
However, this does not happen in Colorado, and a judge will not be interested in hearing this evidence.
Can Alimony Be Modified Over Time?
Yes, it is possible to change the spousal support that has been agreed upon in court. This notion applies in Colorado as long as the couple has decided previously to have no alimony changes. Thus, if there is a condition in the divorce decree, which states the amount cannot be changed, spousal support cannot be adjusted.
But, this does not mean that it is easy to change the amount of alimony you pay. In fact, you are going to have to work pretty hard to show that this should be the case. Namely, you will have to give evidence that there has been a substantial change in your circumstances that make the amount of alimony you pay unfairly.
What Is Going To Be Deemed ‘Unfair’ To Change Spousal Support?
There are a variety of different scenarios that can be classed as ‘unfair’ in order to have spousal support changed. For example, if you lose your job, this could be a situation where it is unfair to pay the same amount of money to your ex-partner. This is going to be particularly true if you have had to accept a lower-paying job.
It is important to remember that every situation is going to be different. A judge will look at all of the factors to ensure that they reach the right decision. They are also going to think about the person receiving the spousal support.
How Is Colorado Spousal Maintenance Paid?
Colorado spousal support can be paid in several ways, and the parties are going to have a say in what is best. For example, it is common for one spouse to pay alimony on a monthly basis. This allows for regular payments for the other person and the payment sums being more management for the other.
Colorado divorce maintenance can also be paid in a lump sum. In other words, you can decide on an amount for spousal support, and you will pay this once to your partner. Some people prefer this as it means they do not have to pay out for years. But, it does mean that you have to pay out more money after divorce.
It is possible to agree with your partner during the divorce to give them certain assets or property. This can be something that you give them instead of spousal support payments. Just make sure that both parties know what is happening and clarify what you want to do.
What Happens if I Do Not Pay Spousal Support?
If you have agreed to pay spousal support or there is an order to do so from a judge, you should always make sure that you fulfill your obligations, or you will face punishment. If you miss a payment or try to ignore them, there can be legal repercussions. Namely, you can receive a jail sentence and fines if you do not take your obligations seriously.
If the person is not receiving the money they should, they can ask the court to step in. There are several ways to collect payments from you even if you are refusing to pay. This can include withholding some of your work salary, as well as other benefits you may receive.
Note that a court can also make your life very difficult if you choose not to pay spousal support in Colorado. For example, they can take away your driver’s license, or if you have a professional license, this can be suspended until you pay what you owe. Since this is the last thing you want, always try to keep up with payments.
What Can End Spousal Support in Colorado?
Two scenarios will lead to the end of spousal support. Namely, this is going to happen if the recipient remarries. You are not obligated to offer alimony as they are now with a new partner. The other situation is if one of the parties dies. This is going to terminate the spousal support agreement that was in place after the divorce.
In some cases, it might be possible for the parties to agree on ending alimony. But, this is not something you should assume happens. There must be the free consent of both parties for this to be the case.
The Colorado spousal support laws are different from other states. Indeed, if you live in Colorado, you need to know what alimony is going to be available if you are getting a divorce.
Let’s summarize everything we know:
- Spousal support or alimony is monetary payment that can support a partner after divorce
- There are guidelines to help a judge calculate alimony in Colorado and ensure that each decision is fair and just
- Judges will consider the lifestyle during the marriage, as well as the health, age, education and employment of spouses
- The length of marriage matters in alimony laws in Colorado, and this can decide how long spousal support is received
- Colorado divorce laws show that infidelity will not be a consideration for alimony
- There can be the modification of alimony if circumstances change and the amount paid becomes unfair
- Spousal support can be paid in regular payments or a lump sum, as well as with other assets and property
- If you avoid alimony in Colorado, there can be serious consequences such as fines or a jail sentence
- If the recipient of spousal support chooses to remarry, this is going to end the obligation for alimony
- If a party dies, this will put a stop to spousal support in Colorado
Spousal support can be something that helps a person become self-sufficient after a divorce. But, make sure that you know all of the rules and regulations so that you can follow the law in Colorado. Hopefully, you now have a better knowledge of how alimony works in the state.
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