Maintenance in Colorado used to be very subjective. It’s alimony, essentially. But this year we have a formula that’s gone into place, and the formula is used by courts all the time, as evidenced by this past year. It is discretionary, so the court doesn’t have to use it. They can veer from the formula if they want to, which gives people the ability to argue some special circumstance. But we do have a formula because it makes life easier, and there it is and you can go by it.
The formula – I’m not going to go into all details of the formula, but I’m going to suffice it to say very generally that you take 40 percent of the income of the person who makes more money. There has to be a substantial difference in incomes, and assuming a substantial difference you take 40 percent of the income of the larger earner spouse, and you subtract 50 percent of the income of the lesser earning spouse. That would give you your yearly amount of maintenance, and then you divide it by 12 to come up with a monthly amount.
A lot of people are very pleased about this, because people that can’t afford lawyers are now able to at least ask for maintenance because there’s a formula. Other people feel that it’s much too high. There’s a whole contingent of attorneys that work with mostly people that make quite a bit of money that feel that it’s an unfair formula. So we will see how it all comes out after the politics of it settle after a couple of years, but at the moment that is the formula.
Your next step is to actually call an attorney and find out in your specific situation how that formula might apply.
The formula also has years, so how long is it that you’re going to be able to get that maintenance. And it really depends. I think 3 years is about where you start getting maintenance, at about 3 years, and it goes up to 20 years, and then after 20 years it’s a more subjective thing. So if you’re closer to 20 it’s more like half of the time that you’ve been married that you’ll get maintenance.
There’s also some people that can get maintenance for life. Those people usually are older, you’re closer to retirement and you’ve been married for 30 plus years. You’ve been married a long time and you’re close to retirement you might get maintenance for life. Or there’s a health issue, and because of the health issue you might get maintenance for life. It depends on all the facts and circumstances. For more information about maintenance, filing for divorce, how divorce works, or any other family law matters in Colorado, call us at 303-329-3802.