Alimony - Spousal Maintenance

Alimony in Colorado is called spousal maintenance.  It is ordered when one spouse has the ability to pay, and the other has a need for additional support.  Alimony or maintenance payments are separate from child support, although the payment of alimony can effect child support payments. Child support, however, belongs to the children, not the former spouse, unlike alimony. 

To determine if alimony is necessary, our courts look at several factors including: monthly income, the way property has been divided so far, the financial resources of both, and reasonable financial needs of both, as established during the marriage.  The duration of alimony is usually tied to the length of the marriage.  The Colorado legislature established guidelines for how long alimony should last and likewise created presumptive guideline amounts for maintenance based on income, which the judge can depart from as necessary and appropriate.   

Sometimes a spouse hopes to get out of paying alimony if he temporarily reduces his income or stops working.  Unfortunately, the court can, and frequently does, impute income to the party who is now choosing to earn less.  On the other hand, alimony can be waived or avoided via various settlements so being honest with your attorney in terms of your real goals is important. 

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the spouse who paid alimony could deduct such payments from taxable income, and likewise, the spouse who received alimony was required to report it as income. After December 31, 2018, this will no longer be the case so depending on your position (are you the payor or payee?), you may want to consider finalizing your divorce before the end of the year to take advantage of the change.  Finalizing an amicable divorce before the end of the year could be to your advantage.   

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