Colorado divorces may end with a support order that provides an ex-spouse with a generous amount of alimony or spousal maintenance. While it may appear as though courts favor the individual who earns less, judges generally use tables as guidelines when determining payments.
The number of years that a couple remained married typically assists in determining the alimony amount. When a married couple, for example, has stayed together for less than three years, a court may waive spousal maintenance. If an individual could prove, however, that he or she has no other means of support, a judge may order temporary alimony if an ex-spouse can afford to pay it.
Married at least three years
Courts may determine alimony based on a couple’s combined income when filing for divorce after at least three years of marriage, and if not married longer than 20 years. A judge may order an individual to provide spousal maintenance for a period between 11 months and 10 years.
The length of time that an ex-spouse may receive financial support also depends on how many more years he or she must care for the couple’s children. A support order could include funds to provide for their medical, educational and extracurricular needs.
Married 20 years or more
A spouse filing for divorce after 20 years of marriage may receive financial support for the rest of his or her life. As noted by CNBC, the life expectancy of an individual aged 65 or older is an additional 19.5 years. Planning to receive lifetime support may require the inclusion of health care and medical expenses.
When a working spouse has an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the nonworking spouse may request some of its proceeds during a divorce. If a fund has substantial equity, a higher payout amount may allow spouses to negotiate the elimination of maintenance payments.
Spouse’s higher annual salary
A Colorado judge could order a spouse earning a higher annual salary to provide support to the spouse earning a lesser income. If a couple can make arrangements amicably, however, each individual may move forward on his or her own terms.