Two-income marriages have long been commonplace in Colorado. But many spouses, both men and women, choose to put a career on hold and stay at home to raise the children. When these couples divorce, the stay-at-home spouse is often fearful for their financial future. After a few years at home, they may need some time to get back into the work force. In many cases they will also need to pursue some additional education or training to get their skills up to date.
This is one of the situations that Colorado’s alimony laws are designed to alleviate. One of the purposes of alimony – which Colorado courts refer to as maintenance – is to provide the financial support a stay-at-home spouse needs in order to re-enter the workforce and become financially independent.
Colorado courts apply advisory guidelines in calculating spousal maintenance. The basic formula provides that the lower-earning spouse will receive 40 percent of the monthly income of the higher-earning spouse, minus 50 percent of their own monthly income. This formula is applied when the spouses’ combined annual income is not more than $240,000 and the marriage has lasted from three to 20 years.
The guidelines are advisory only, which means judges can depart from them if circumstances justify it. Courts can consider a number of factors including the time it will take the stay-at-home spouse to acquire training and become employed.
Shea L. Burchill, P.C. has successfully represented many spouses seeking an award of spousal support to get them back on their feet financially after a divorce. For more information, feel free to visit our spousal support web page.