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How is spousal maintenance determined in a Colorado divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2020 | Divorce & Legal Separation |

Divorce is a complex and difficult matter to address in Colorado regardless of the circumstances. For those who have significant assets and did not have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, spousal maintenance is likely to come to the forefront. At issue may be the amount that will be paid, how long the payments must last, or both. Having a basic understanding of the law can help to prepare for the case and handle potential disputes.

The parties’ financial resources will be critical, especially for the spouse who is set to receive payments. That will include income and potential income they can accrue through property and if they have the wherewithal to secure employment to meet their needs. This is also true in a separate context for the paying spouse. They must meet their needs while paying maintenance. There will be a lifestyle the sides had when they were married. Reasonably maintaining that lifestyle is a factor.

Marital property distribution is assessed. If marital property can be awarded to a spouse to lower or end the need for maintenance, this can be considered. Examples are a home of substantial value, collectibles or financial accounts. Employment and the ability to gain employment is vital to an award of maintenance. If the receiving spouse has certain skills applicable to the market or needs time to gain those skills, maintenance awards can reflect that. Earnings during the marriage and if one has earned more than the other or entered the marriage with greater assets, this can be part of the determination of maintenance.

The length of the marriage is imperative. If it was a short marriage and one side entered with a substantial amount of assets while the other did not, it can impact the maintenance award. If the higher-earning spouse achieved that due to support from the other spouse – whether that was by paying for education or taking care of the home – this is part of the process. Health care needs will be factored in with the award.

While child custody and visitation are commonly the main concerns in a divorce, property division and spousal maintenance must also be considered. This is of specific importance when it was a high-asset situation. From the perspective of the paying spouse and the receiving spouse, people may disagree on what should be paid, how much it will be, how long it will last and more. Having legal protection may be a fundamental part of a successful outcome. Consulting with professionals experienced in divorce can provide insight on how to proceed.

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