Authored by Kama McConaughy Sarkissian, Esq.
Maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, is an allowance awarded by the court in some circumstances to be paid (usually monthly) to a spouse or former spouse for maintenance following a divorce or legal separation, or while such action is pending. Maintenance is awarded when the court finds that a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs and is unable to support him or herself through appropriate employment.
As of January 1, 2014, Colorado law provides courts with discretionary guidelines for determining the amount and term of maintenance payments based on the incomes of the spouses and the length of the marriage. The guidelines are only applied in cases where the parties' combined annual income is less than $300,000 per year and the length of the marriage is greater than 3 years but less than 20 years. Under the guidelines, the amount of maintenance is equal to forty percent of the higher income party’s adjusted monthly gross income less fifty percent of the lower income party’s adjusted gross income. After this calculation, the recipient's total monthly income, including maintenance, cannot exceed 40% of the total combined monthly adjusted gross income of both parties.
Example: Victor earns $5,000 per month, and Sally earns $1,800 per month. Victor’s maintenance payment will be $1,100 ($2000-$900) per month.
In determining maintenance, the court will also consider other factors such as the property awarded to each party, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial resources of each party. Ultimately, the court has the discretion to award maintenance in an amount that is fair and equitable to both parties.
Unlike child support, maintenance is tax deductible by the paying spouse and is taxable income to the receiving spouse.
As skillful negotiators, we are able to negotiate appropriate maintenance terms, whether you are the recipient or the payor of the award. We investigate and determine what each spouse’s income from all sources is, or should be, to ensure maintenance payments are fairly calculated and negotiated. We are experienced litigators who can represent you in all issues regarding maintenance.
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