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The Art of Negotiating Spousal Maintenance
Spousal Maintenance is Highly Dependent on Your Attorney’s Skills
Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is the payment from one spouse to the other. It is the recognition by the law that marriage is a joint endeavor and both parties should share in the fruits of that union. It is also one of the most difficult aspects of any divorce. Unlike child support, there’s no formula we can apply.
One judge could say $100 a month while another, with the same set of facts, may say $1,000 per month. Negotiating maintenance obligations presents special difficulties, and it’s encouraged that you protect your interests by working with an attorney who specializes in family law and especially spousal maintenance issues.
Want to discuss your spousal maintenance issue? Call (303) 394-3030 for a free case review today.
What is Temporary Maintenance?
After a divorce is filed, while you are still waiting for the final hearing, you can obtain a “temporary” maintenance order. This is intended to ensure as normal a lifestyle as possible, given that your family probably now has two sets of bills instead of one.
The temporary maintenance may be in the form of:
- A regular check from one spouse to another
- An agreement for payment of certain marital expenses
- A combination of both
Three Factors in Assessing “Permanent” Spousal Support
The use of the phrase “permanent” maintenance may be misleading. While there are some maintenance orders that are permanent, most orders are limited in duration.
It’s important to assess three things concerning permanent maintenance:
- Is a spouse entitled to permanent maintenance?
- How much support is likely to be ordered?
- How long will the party likely be ordered to pay maintenance?
Calculating Permanent Spousal Maintenance
In the dissolution of a lengthy marriage with a notable difference in incomes, there is almost always a maintenance question. The amount and duration of support is difficult to estimate. Because there is no statutory formula for permanent maintenance calculations, a list of factors is balanced.
The following is only a partial list of the factors a Colorado court may consider when assessing a spousal maintenance award:
- Length of the marriage
- Disparity of income
- Reasonable needs of receiving spouse
- Extent of any separate property
- Age of both spouses
- Ability of paying spouse to pay
- Ability of receiving spouse to work
- Work history of receiving spouse
- Level of education / training of receiving spouse
- Education needed to re-enter the work force
Courts Disagree on Maintenance, So Choose the Right Denver Spousal Maintenance Lawyer
If maintenance is warranted, the court will order maintenance in an amount that the court deems just after considering various relevant factors. This number, however, can vary widely.
Recently, a three-judge panel of family law judges was given the same divorce fact scenario and asked to tell the audience what their maintenance awards would be:
- One said $1,500 a month
- The second said $1,000
- The third judge said $0
The court does not consider any marital misconduct of a spouse when making a maintenance determination. The representation of a quality spousal maintenance lawyer who is familiar with Colorado law cannot be overstated. Our team at Modern Family Law can provide the help and counsel you seek.
The Difference Between Statutory & Contractual Support
There are two types of maintenance awards: statutory and contractual. A judge can only issue statutory maintenance. Only the parties can enter into contractual maintenance. There are many differences between these two types of awards.
These differences can be huge, with consequences for both parties. For example, statutory maintenance can always be modified by a court based on changed circumstances of either party. Contractual maintenance cannot be modified.
More Questions? Schedule a Free Case Consultation Today!
The facts and circumstances in each case weigh heavily on any determination concerning spousal maintenance. Our firm can help walk you through the various factors a divorce court assesses when issuing an order for spousal maintenance.
Call Modern Family Law at (303) 394-3030 for a free case evaluation at your earliest convenience.