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What’s the deal with spousal support?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2017 | Child Support, Spousal Maintenance

You have been in your marriage for a while. As most marriages do, yours started out filled with hopes and dreams for the future. You gladly stayed home to raise your children while your spouse went to work, and you managed the household and did your best to keep your family together. Unfortunately, things in your relationship have been bad for a while and now you are ready to move on rather than keep fighting. But how will you support yourself?

This is certainly a valid concern. Thankfully, Colorado — like all other states — allows some individuals to collect spousal support to help them stay financially afloat post-divorce. How does alimony work and how much could I receive?

How it works

If awarded maintenance as part of your divorce settlement, your spouse will receive an order to pay you a specific amount of money for a set period of time or to provide you with a lump-sum payment. Payments go to an approved depository and then they are forwarded to you. This way the state, you and your ex all have record of the transactions.

Who gets spousal maintenance?

Believe it or not, spousal maintenance is not awarded in every divorce case. To determine eligibility a judge will look at:

  • Your current age
  • Your spouse’s age
  • Length of your marital union
  • Your earning capacity
  • Your spouse’s earning capacity
  • Marital standard of living
  • The details of the property division settlement

This and other information will allow the court to make a decision based on your financial need and your current ability to support yourself. How much you get really comes down to marriage length, your spouse’s income and your economic need.

What if my ex stops paying?

Unfortunately, encountering a non-paying ex happens on occasion. If it does happen to you, there are enforcement options you could utilize. It starts by filing a petition in court to have your spouse held in contempt. Sometimes this step is enough to get payments resumed. If it is not, your legal counsel can advise you on what steps to take next.

Think you qualify?

If you believe that you meet the eligibility requirements to receive spousal support, ask for it. You can take this action by including the request in your initial divorce petition. The finer details of the matter can be resolved through negotiations or in court.