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How Does Maintenance Work

How Does Maintenance Work?

One of the issues that will have to be dealt with in any divorce is maintenance. Maintenance is how the state of Colorado refers to alimony or spousal support. In Fort Collins, or anywhere in Colorado, here is how maintenance works.

Prior to a few years ago, there was very little guidance for the courts in determining maintenance. The court must determine both the amount of maintenance and the duration of maintenance, meaning how long it is going to get paid. What the statute said, prior to a few years ago, was that the court should look at this long list of factors, and then determine how much the maintenance would be and how long it would last. The problem with that was that we were getting very different rulings on maintenance in very similar cases. The courts had no guidance. They had no idea where to start and they were giving very differing rulings.

The legislature recognized these problems and a few years ago, they put into place some maintenance guidelines to give the court an idea of at least a starting place. The formula is currently designed to create a situation where the lower earning spouse has 40% of the combined total income. The idea is to create a maintenance award from the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse, where when the maintenance award is added to the lower earning spouse’s income, the lower income spouse has 40% of the total income. That is subject to some adjustments based on tax liability. That is generally how maintenance works in Fort Collins, Colorado and the remainder of the state.

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