Spousal support is also commonly referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance. The Colorado legislature has enacted a statute the involves basically a two part process. The first part of the process is running formula based on the adjusted gross incomes of the parties, so we look at the adjusted gross income of each party. We put that into a formula. We also look at for purposes of permanent maintenance or long term maintenance, the duration of the marriage. We look at the number of months that the parties have been married.
So we arrive at what we call a base line number according to the worksheet. Then we look at other factors that are a little more intangible. Those factors include the need of the requesting spouse and the ability of the paying support to pay. We look basically at each party’s financial statement they’ve completed to see does the spouse who was requesting maintenance really need it. We look at whether the person who would be paying maintenance, do they have the ability to pay it? Those are the sort of squishy factors that the court will look at to determine if it wants to go with the guideline
amount of maintenance or some other amount.
It’s very important to make sure that you capture all of your expenses on your sworn financial statement, and that it accurately reflects your need and the expense that you are paying. The court may consider impugning income to one party. For example, if somebody has been a stay at home parent and hasn’t worked in the work force for a period of time, the court is not going to put a zero down for their income figure unless they are primarily responsible for caring for a child that is 30 months of age or younger or a disabled child. At that point, we look at what was their earning history in the past? Did we need a vocational evaluation of that individual? A lot of times as a default, we were to simply look at what Colorado minimum wage is and we will impugn full time employment at Colorado minimum wage for the spouse who does not have a job. Simply because you’re not employed doesn’t mean you get to put a zero down for your column under your adjusted gross income. We look at other factors including your income history, your educational background, and similar.