Calculating spousal support in a Colorado divorce

Colorado has set guidelines for judges to use when calculating alimony payments in a divorce case.

Couples who choose to file for divorce in Colorado have a myriad of issues to work through, including property division, child custody, parenting plans and spousal support. Traditionally, the judge appointed to oversee the divorce case in court is responsible for settling these issues. It is up to the judge to determine what is fair and just when making these crucial decisions. Previous to the alimony law, which took effect in January 2014, judges calculated alimony payments based off of their personal discretion. This practice, however, led to a great variation in alimony settlements. The alimony law was enacted in an attempt to bridge this financial gap and put everyone on a more level playing field.

When couples have been married for a certain amount of time, one spouse, generally the party who has the highest gross income, may be required to pay alimony. There are several types of spousal support, and the court will determine which is most appropriate depending on the specific circumstances of the case, according to the American Bar Association.

Factors involved when determining alimony

The alimony law helped to set recommended guidelines for judges to follow when calculating alimony payments. According to a 9News report, Colorado courts calculate the alimony amount by taking 40 percent of the higher gross income and subtracting 50 percent of the lower gross income. The difference is then divided by 12 to determine the monthly alimony payment.

In addition to each spouses' gross income, the judge may consider the following:

•· How the property was divided between the spouses

•· The financial resources available to each party

•· Whether there are any children involved and who has custody of those children

•· Whether child support is ordered

•· The education and career history of each spouse throughout the duration of the marriage

If one spouse quit his or her job in order to stay home with the children or puts his or her career on hold in order to fund the education or career of the other spouse, the judge may factor this into the equation as well.

There is also a formula used to help determine how long the spouse will receive alimony payments. The judge must take 45 percent of the total number of years that the couple was married. The final amount of alimony is still subject to the judge's ultimate discretion, as reported by the Denver Post.

Obtaining legal counsel

Going through a divorce can be stressful and emotional. It may be difficult to make critical decisions during such a hard time. You may want to seek legal counsel from a family law attorney in Colorado who has handled these types of divorce cases.

Keywords: family law, divorce, alimony, support, maintenance