In Colorado, whether one party to a divorce should receive spousal support can be a contentious issue. Spousal support, called alimony in some states and often called maintenance in Colorado, is typically ordered to provide assistance to the recipient while he or she becomes financially self-sufficient.
Recently Brian Cashman, the General Manager of the New York Yankees, finalized his divorce. As part of the settlement, Cashman’s ex-wife will receive alimony in an unspecified amount until the year 2025. If she remarries before then, however, the alimony will end.
This story highlights one of the key aspects of spousal support payments: they are not open-ended; they come to an end at some specified date. They can also end if some specified condition takes place – in this case, remarriage. Maintenance payments are not intended to support the former spouse for a lifetime. They are intended to help a spouse who depended on the other spouse financially, but only long enough to enable that spouse to attain financial independence.
In Colorado the amount of maintenance to be paid, and the length of time for which it must be paid, are left to the discretion of the court. The judge will review a number of factors in setting a maintenance obligation. These include how long the parties were married; how long it will take the recipient to obtain employment and become self-sufficient; the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage; and the financial resources of both parties.
Whether a divorcing spouse is seeking support or is being requested to pay it, it is important to present a well-reasoned argument to the court, highlighting the factors listed above. Hiring an experienced family law attorney to prepare the case can pay off in a fair and reasonable maintenance order.
Source: New York Post, “Yankees GM Cashman’s divorce finalized,” Laurel Babcock, Feb. 6, 2013