In Colorado, it’s common for divorced couples to have some kind of alimony or spousal support arrangement.
Unfortunately, sexist stereotypes and unfair expectations make it easy for men to be treated unfairly in matters of spousal support.
The alimony lawyers at the Dadvocates help men throughout Colorado establish fair support arrangements.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is financial support that one ex-spouse is legally required to give to the other after a divorce. In Colorado, alimony is usually referred to as "spousal maintenance." Spousal maintenance is a separate consideration from child support, although the two arrangements are closely related.
Alimony exists because the law recognizes that two spouses frequently have different individual incomes and earning potential. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including:
- One spouse left the workforce to look after children full-time
- One spouse financially supported the other while the second spouse received education or job training
- One spouse chose not to continue their education or advance in their field because the other spouse made enough to support the family
In these and similar circumstances, a divorce can be financially devastating for the lower-earning spouse. However, it's not necessarily the lower-earning spouse's fault, because they may have made financial sacrifices with the expectation that their marriage would last. Therefore, the court views some amount of spousal support after a divorce as justifiable in many cases.
The Basics of Alimony in Colorado
Under Colorado family law, alimony can be awarded to a lower-earning spouse if the marriage lasted at least three years. Alimony is not automatically awarded, and a variety of factors will be considered when determining whether spousal support is appropriate.
Spousal support is usually a temporary arrangement. The duration of time during which alimony payments are required is calculated based on how long the marriage lasted. Lifelong alimony is only awarded in rare circumstances if the marriage lasted at least 20 years.
Divorcing spouses are allowed to negotiate and sign their own spousal support agreement. If they are unable to reach an agreement, either spouse can request that a judge make an alimony decision. C.R.S. § 14-10-114 provides advisory guidelines for judges to consider when resolving these disputes. However, a judge has the authority to ignore the guidelines and make a unique decision if he or she believes that the circumstances of the divorce are extraordinary in some way.
Do You Have Questions About Alimony? Speak with a Colorado Men's Rights Lawyer
The Dadvocates is the only law firm in Colorado dedicated to defending the rights of men in family law disputes. We serve men throughout the state from our offices in:
- Colorado Springs / El Paso County
- Crested Butte
- Glenwood Springs
- Grand Junction
- Steamboat Springs
If you are dealing with issues related to spousal support, our attorneys can help. Set up a consultation with our team today to have your questions answered. You can arrange for an in-person or virtual consultation. To request your consultation, contact us online or give us a call.
Call the Dadvocates: (720) 749-2876
Enough can not be said about my experience with the Dadvocates (Kaitlyn, in particular).... and I think me ‘laying some foundation’ (as lawyers would say) is appropriate. My ex-wife is, by occupation, a divorce attorney. Has been for 13yrs. Owns her own law firm. Is a CFI and Guardian ad Litem. I tried to represent myself at the beginning believing the system would see things as I saw them. That was a bad choice. Hiring Kaitlyn was a good choice. Let me lay a little more foundation. I’m not an easy personality to deal with and I had dug Kaitlyn a hole by the time I got her on board. She dealt with me and supported me and dug me out of that hole in relatively short order. If you’re a Dad in the struggle and you’re reading this and you don’t hire the Dadvocates (Kaitlyn’s my favorite), I believe you’re making a mistake. My name is Brian McGinn and I support this message.View on Google
From start to finish this was an amazing experience. Kaitlyn was hired to modify Parenting Time and Child Support from a Alabama divorce decree to having the jurisdiction moved to Colorado. She made me feel very comfortable throughout the entire process. My case was a difficult case over state lines. She is very quick to respond to all my inquiries and concerns. Through the thorough preparation for trial, she helped me feel at ease before walking into the court room. Kaitlyn was the epitome of professionalism throughout the entire process. Kaitlyn was successful in having the jurisdiction moved to Colorado, and coming out of court, we received the most the judge would give. We are very satisfied with the outcome and plan on continuing using Kaitlyn in the future. I would highly recommend Kaitlyn!View on Google
Men Can Receive Alimony
Factors Considered When Determining Alimony in Colorado
When determining how much spousal support one party owes the other, Colorado family law courts are advised to consider:
- Each spouse's gross income
- What each spouse will receive through division of marital property
- The value of each spouse's individual property
- Other financial resources available to each spouse
- The financial needs of each spouse
- The spouses' lifestyles during the marriage
- The tax implications of spousal maintenance for each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The earning potential of each spouse
- The duration of the divorce proceedings
- Any other factor the judge deems relevant
Note that marital misconduct is not considered when calculating alimony. Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that either spouse can choose to end the marriage for any reason, and choosing to do so does not impact that spouse's ability to make or receive alimony payments.
Colorado Alimony Equations
Numerous factors can influence the amount of spousal support a family law judge in Colorado ultimately awards, and every situation is unique. However, C.R.S. § 14-10-114 does provide baseline equations for judges to consider when making these calculations. These equations assume that (1) no child support is being paid by either spouse, (2) neither spouse is receiving spousal support after a previous divorce, and (3) the annual adjusted gross income of the two parties does not exceed $240,000:
|1. The maintenance award is deductible for federal income tax purposes by the payor and taxable income to the recipient. (This equation only applies to divorces finalized before Jan. 1, 2019)
|The monthly support payment should equal 40 percent of the parties' combined, monthly adjusted gross income minus the lower-income party's monthly adjusted gross income.
Suppose one spouse earns $7,000 a month and the other spouse earns $3,000 a month. The higher earner would make a monthly payment of $1,000 to the lower earner.
(7,000 + 3,000)(.4) - 3,000 = 1,000
|2. The maintenance award is NOT deductible for federal income tax purposes by the payor and NOT taxable income to the recipient, and the parties' combined, monthly adjusted gross income is less than or equal to $10,000.
|The monthly support payment should equal 80 percent of the amount calculated in circumstance 1.
Suppose one spouse earns $7,000 a month and the other spouse earns $3,000 a month. The higher earner would make a monthly payment of $800 to the lower earner.
[(7,000 + 3,000)(.4) - 3,000](.8) = 800
|3. The maintenance award is NOT deductible for federal income tax purposes by the payor and NOT taxable income to the recipient, and the parties' combined, monthly adjusted gross income is more than $10,000 but less than $20,000.
|The monthly support payment should equal 75 percent of the amount calculated in circumstance 1.
Suppose one spouse earns $9,500 a month and the other spouse earns $5,500 a month. The higher earner would make a monthly payment of $375 to the lower earner.
[(9,500 + 5,500)(.4) - 5,500](.75) = 375
Again, these formulas are only guidelines for judges to follow. Very few divorces are simple enough for the court to base a decision solely on these equations. That's why it's important to work with an alimony attorney who can present your situation to the court and achieve an outcome that truly serves your best interests and those of your children.
Alimony Payments and Taxes
In the past, alimony payments were tax deductible for payors and taxable income for recipients. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed that. Now, spousal support payments are not considered tax deductible for payors or taxable income for recipients following any divorce finalized on or after January 1, 2019. Therefore, most divorces in Colorado going forward will align with circumstances 2 or 3 in the table above.
Our lawyers can help you understand the tax implications of spousal maintenance during a consultation.
Getting Divorced? You Need a Divorce Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce in Colorado, you need a trustworthy attorney on your side. Without a lawyer in your corner, you are at risk of being taken advantage of during family law negotiations.
The attorneys at the Dadvocates help men navigate all areas of family law and divorce, including:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Child Relocation
- Property Division
- Military Divorce
- Emergency Child Custody
- Contempt of Court
- Dividing Debt
- Domestic Violence Defense
Learn more about what our law firm can do for you during a consultation. Our firm also provides criminal defense. You can set up a meeting with our divorce lawyers by contacting us online or by giving us a call.
Call the Dadvocates: (720) 749-2876
"Great Job, Dadvocates!"
I was very satisfied with the Dadvocates. Zachary Reibstein surpassed my expectations! He successfully entered a moton to modify protection order that was inhibiting my relationship with my children. The motion was approved and we were fortunate enough to not have to make a court appearance. The writing in the motion he entered was logical, compassionate, and effective! Great job Dadvocates!View on Google
The Dadvocates is one of the most professional and results oriented law firms that I have encountered - highly recommend. I personally worked with Danielle and she exceeded expectations at every moment of my difficult case. I walked away in a position that, without Danielle and the Dadvocates, I would not have been able to achieve. The Dadvocates is a high Return on Investment law firm.View on Google
How Long Will Alimony Payments Be Required?
The duration of time during which a higher-earning spouse must make payments to the lower-earning spouse is called the "term of maintenance." The Colorado guidelines calculate the term of maintenance based on how long the marriage lasted. If your marriage lasted 36 months (the minimum duration to qualify for spousal maintenance), then payments will be required for 31 percent of the duration of the marriage, which is 11 months. For every month after 36 months, the percentage goes up by 0.17. So if your marriage lasted 37 months, then payments will be required for 31.17 percent of the duration of the marriage, which equals 12 months.
At 150 months (12 years and six months), the percentage reaches 50 percent. The .17 percent increase no longer applies after that. So for marriages lasting between 12.5 and 20 years, the recommended term of maintenance is half of the duration of the marriage.
According to the guidelines, lifelong alimony should only be an option when a marriage has lasted at least 20 years, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Alimony, Child Custody, and Child Support
In Colorado, it is normal for a parent with primary custody of a child to receive some amount of child support from the other parent. However, receiving child support will impact your ability to also receive spousal support, and vice versa.
When making a decision related to alimony, the family law court will consider how much financial support is being paid for the purpose of parenting. Typically, this means that if you are receiving child support, the amount of spousal maintenance you receive will be less than if you were not receiving child support.
Because judges have the authority to make unique decisions in alimony disputes, they will be able to take your child support situation into consideration when designing your spousal maintenance plan.
Talk to a Lawyer
Our men's rights law firm is ready to represent you. Take the first step right now by scheduling a consultation. You can request a consultation by contacting us online or by calling our main line.
"They Make Me Feel Like I Have Support."
When a family splits, its easy to feel left in shock, confused, over-whelmed and often times completely and totally alone in the fight. Having a team like the one at SH Law behind you is invaluable. Attorney Samera Habib and her team helped me (and continues to help me) through the process of my separation and ongoing child custody matters with such care and devotion, seeing each of my cases through to the end and always with a judgment in my favor. They make me feel less alone in this. They make me feel like I have support. I would recommend SH Law to ANY Parent facing difficult separation or custody matters. They really do feel like part of OUR team at this point. My son and I. Thanks SH Law!View on Google
Kaitlyn, Samera, and their team are truly amazing. They will fight hard for what is right, and the firm truly is experts in high conflict cases. My case lasted over a year and their team was always very attentive to my questions and concerns. If you want what is best for your child, or have an ex who is trying to take advantage of you, trust that you will be in great hands with the Dadvocates. During trial they were very well organized and they did all they could to fight for what was fair. They are very professional and courteous. Divorce/custody was the most stressful event in my life, the firm did all they could to take the weight off my shoulders and put my mind at ease. Truly thank you all for all your efforts in this case!View on Google
Modifying an Alimony Agreement
It is possible to create a spousal maintenance agreement in which both parties agree that the agreement can never be modified. Our divorce lawyers highly discourage this. You never know what circumstances can change in the future, and it's always best to leave the option open to modify the agreement.
Modifying an alimony agreement is possible when either party experiences a significant change in circumstances, such as:
- Losing a job
- Getting a new job
- Getting a raise
- Getting remarried
While it is possible to modify a maintenance agreement, it's not necessarily easy. It's not sufficient to simply show that your ex got a raise. You have to demonstrate that the change in circumstances makes the existing agreement unfair, which is far easier said than done. Our attorneys can help you convince the courts that a modification request is justified.
Be the Best Dad You Can Be
At the Dadvocates, we are passionate about representing fathers in family law disputes because we know that kids need dads to live happy, successful lives. However, if you don't receive the financial support you need, or if you are forced to pay an exorbitant amount of support, then you won't be able to be the father that your children deserve. That's why we want to help you achieve a fair and reasonable alimony agreement with your ex-spouse.
Get started right now by setting up a consultation with our men's rights law firm. We can meet with you at any of our offices throughout Colorado, or we can arrange a virtual consultation. To request a consultation, contact us online or give us a call.
Call the Dadvocates: (720) 749-2876
Very professional law firm that advocates for father's rights. I would recommend anyone here. Attorneys are very professional with valuable experience and amazing educational histories.View on Google
Samera & her team are the best! They are very professional, yet understanding, and are diligent to cover their bases and make sure you have the best possible representation. I can’t say enough good things about them.View on Google
Colorado Alimony FAQ
Are men and women treated differently when it comes to spousal maintenance?
They shouldn't be. Under the law, a person's gender has no bearing on their ability to pay or receive spousal maintenance. If you are a man and you feel that a judge is being unsympathetic to your case because of your gender, contact the Dadvocates. Our law firm exists to defend the rights of men in family law and divorce proceedings.
Will spousal support be given automatically?
No. Unlike child support, the law does not assume that any spouse has a legal obligation to pay spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance must be requested by one of the spouses during divorce proceedings. The divorcing couple has the opportunity to negotiate a maintenance agreement between themselves, either alone or with the help of lawyers. If the two sides are not able to come to an agreement, either side can ask the court to make a determination.
What if my spouse is hiding assets?
During a divorce, it's not uncommon for the higher-earning spouse to attempt to hide or shield some of their assets. If they can disguise their true net worth, they may be able to achieve a more favorable maintenance plan for themselves. The divorce lawyers at the Dadvocates work with a network of financial professionals who excel at investigating hidden assets. If your spouse is negotiating in bad faith during a divorce, contact our attorneys today.
What do I do if alimony payments are not being made?
If your ex is not abiding by a court-ordered maintenance plan, you can file a motion to have them held in contempt of court. Our lawyers can help you file the necessary paperwork. If a judge finds your ex to be in contempt, the judge can force them to make up for their missed payments. In some circumstances, your ex may even face jail time for not making their payments.
Do I need to work with a lawyer?
You are not required to work with a lawyer during alimony negotiations or disputes, but it is highly recommended. This area of family law in Colorado is highly complex. If you don't work with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer, you may end up paying more than you should in spousal maintenance or not receiving the full amount of maintenance that you could.
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The Dadvocates is the only law firm in Colorado dedicated to defending the rights of men in family law disputes.