Maintenance (Alimony)

On January 1, 2014 there were major changes in Colorado law regarding maintenance.  There is now a “formula” that the courts can use to determine the amount of maintenance and a formula to determine how long the maintenance will go on for.

If your combined gross monthly incomes do not exceed $240,000, and you have been married for at least three years, the formula is:

40% of the higher earning person’s monthly adjusted gross income minus 50% of the lower earning person’s monthly adjusted gross income.  To determine the length of time, there is a chart that tell you for a certain number of months married what the time period is that maintenance should be paid for.  If you have been married at least 12.5 years or more, the term of maintenance will be half of the length of the marriage.

Keep in mind that the judge can “deviate” from the formula.  The formula is more of a guideline.  The judge could consider other factors and award a different amount of maintenance for various reasons such as health concerns for one of the parties, the amount of other property that one party is being awarded, etc.  You cannot count on the judge using the formula exactly but it will give you a good idea of what to expect.

If your case was filed before January 1, 2014, the judge does not have to use the formula but many of them are doing it anyway because it is an easier way of calculating maintenance than the former method.

If you reach an agreement outside of court (like at mediation) regarding maintenance, you can choose to make the maintenance non-modifiable.  Non-modifiable maintenance means that no matter whether one of you gets a better job, loses a job, wins the lottery or any other factor occurs affecting income, the maintenance amount and term cannot be changed.

Ordinarily maintenance is modifiable if there is a “substantial and continuing change of circumstances.”  Modification of maintenance is a complicated matter but it can be done under certain circumstances.

Generally if a person is awarded maintenance, it will terminated if they get married or if they die.  If you are receiving maintenance and you decide to move in with your boyfriend/girlfriend, consult an attorney first as it may affect your maintenance.  You need to be very careful.