What You Need to Know About Spousal Support in Divorce

Posted by Casey Alexander | May 16, 2024 | 0 Comments

Spousal support is an important consideration as you approach divorce in Colorado. You might be in dire need of financial security. Perhaps you are concerned about the economic impact of divorce on your high net worth. Whether you stand to pay or receive spousal support, you should gain an understanding of how this process works. One of the best ways to learn more about spousal support is to speak with a divorce lawyer. These legal professionals can answer any questions you might have about spousal support, and they can offer you targeted guidance based on your unique financial situation. Perhaps most importantly, an experienced divorce lawyer can help you pay less spousal support – or receive more. 

What is Spousal Support in Colorado?

Spousal support is a form of payment from one spouse to the other after divorce. It is an old concept that dates back hundreds (or even thousands) of years – to a time when women were not allowed to work. Because women were not allowed to work, they faced the very real threat of destitution after divorce. Unless they could return to their families, the loss of a husband meant the loss of financial stability. As a result, various societies created a spousal support system that enforced payments from the husband to the wife after divorce. 

As we all know, women are allowed to work in the modern era. Indeed, some wives make far more than their husbands today. As a result, the original purpose of spousal support no longer applies. Instead, Colorado courts disregard gender and consider only the income disparity between spouses. The general rule is simple: If you earned far more than your ex during the marriage, you probably need to pay them spousal support.

Although some might argue that spousal support is an inherently archaic concept, others point to numerous benefits. First, it still helps spouses avoid homelessness and destitution after a divorce – regardless of their gender. This puts less strain on society and the taxpayer. Secondly, it gives stay-at-home parents/homemakers a chance to recertify and re-enter the workforce. Without the financial security of spousal support, these spouses might struggle to finish their college degrees, earn qualifications, and transition toward financial independence. 

Spousal Support vs. Alimony vs. Spousal Maintenance

There is no difference between alimony and spousal support. They both refer to the same thing and “spousal support” is generally a more formal legal term. That being said, neither term is technically “correct” in Colorado. Instead, the State uses the phrase “spousal maintenance.” 

Types of Spousal Support in Colorado

There are different types of spousal support in Colorado. All alimony falls into two distinct categories: 

  • Lump-Sum Alimony: As the name suggests, this is a single alimony payment. Instead of spreading out your spousal support over many months and years, you will pay the entire support obligation at once. The benefit is that you will not need to worry about alimony in the future. In addition, alimony may not be modified after you make your single lump-sum payment. 

  • Periodic Alimony: Periodic alimony is more common, and it occurs over many months and years with incremental payments. This is more manageable for many spouses, and it can also be modified if circumstances change. 

Do I Automatically Have to Pay Alimony in Colorado?

You do not automatically pay alimony if you get divorced in Colorado. First of all, these payments should only be necessary if you earned more than your ex during the marriage. Even if you did earn more, however, spousal maintenance obligations are not guaranteed. Under Colorado's spousal support laws, family courts must consider the duration of your marriage. The implication is that a very short marriage (perhaps one lasting only a couple years) does not lead to spousal support. 

Aside from the duration of the marriage and your income, family courts also consider many other factors when approaching spousal support. These include:

  • The standard of living both spouses enjoyed during the marriage

  • How marital property has been divided between spouses

  • The age and health of both spouses

  • Whether each spouse has serious healthcare needs

  • Whether spouses have health insurance

  • Any other factors that the court deems relevant

Can I Quit My Job and Not Pay Alimony?

You might be wondering whether you can simply quit your job to avoid paying alimony. Family courts in Colorado do not allow this, as they consider your “employability” rather than your actual income. In other words, they consider what you're capable of earning rather than what you actually earn. 

Can I Retire and Stop Paying Alimony?

You may attempt to modify your spousal support obligations after retirement. Most family courts in Colorado will consider this a “change in circumstance,” and they may reexamine your situation. However, there is no guarantee that the family court will reduce or eliminate your alimony payments. If you continue to earn income while retired, continued alimony payments may be necessary. If your income reduces drastically, however, courts may decide that your alimony payments are no longer fair. 

How Do I Receive More Spousal Support?

Speak with a qualified spousal support lawyer if you want to maximize these payments. Your ex may attempt various strategies to limit their obligations. For example, they might attempt to defer bonuses and promotions until after the divorce. They might also conceal certain sources of income. Your lawyer can push back against these strategies, helping you receive more spousal maintenance. 

Remember, your ex might also attempt to use the same strategies against you. If have considerable assets, you may lose the right to receive spousal support. For example, you might have inherited a considerable sum. Perhaps you earn income from a trust. These are all issues you can discuss with your lawyer. 

Find a Qualified Spousal Support Lawyer in Loveland

If you have been searching for an experienced spousal support lawyer in Loveland, look no further than Casey James Alexander. We have helped numerous Colorado residents approach spousal support with confidence and efficiency. Although spousal support might seem like a daunting prospect, you can pursue positive results alongside a divorce lawyer. For some, this might mean limiting spousal support payments. For others, this might mean maximizing spousal support payments. Either way,  an experienced lawyer can guide you toward financial security – so book a consultation today. 

About the Author

Casey Alexander

  YOUR ATTORNEY CASEY ALEXANDER Founding Attorney Prior to becoming an attorney Casey served in the United States Navy.  Now he serves the people of Northern Colorado and advocates for their legal needs. Bar Admissions Colorado PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS 01 Larimer County Bar ...


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