Colorado law recognizes several types of spousal maintenance, or alimony, in the event of divorce. These payments help a lower-earning spouse become financially self-supporting.
Learn more about the alimony formula and laws in Colorado before negotiating an agreement with your estranged spouse.
Factors in support calculations
While most states leave spousal support to the judge’s discretion, Colorado law dictates a formula to use. The judge will take half the monthly income of the person who earns less and subtract it from 40% of the higher-earning spouse’s income to reach the monthly alimony payment.
As an example, when one spouse earns $5,000 a month and the other spouse earns $2,000 per month, the judge would subtract $1,000 from $2,000 to get a payment of $1,000 per month.
While $1,000 would be the starting monthly spousal support payment in the example case above, the judge still has the authority to make adjustments based on circumstances. These factors may include:
- The health status of each person
- The age of each person
- How long the marriage lasted
- Each person’s employment status and education
- The spouses’ lifestyle when together
- Whether either person pays support to another previous spouse
- Whether either person pays or receives child support for minor children with a different parent
Types of Colorado alimony
Regardless of the factors above, Colorado judges only rarely award indefinite spousal support. The law limits permanent alimony except when one spouse has a disability or is otherwise unable to work.
If one spouse needs further education or job training to become financially independent, the judge may award rehabilitative support. When one spouse paid for the other spouse’s education or training during the marriage, he or she can request rehabilitative support. If one person has trouble paying the bills during the separation period, the court can order temporary support that expires when the divorce becomes final.