Modern Family logo

Book a Consultation Today!

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Maintenance Payments: Who’s Income Is It?

In Colorado, maintenance (also known as alimony) is intended to help ease the financial burdens associated with divorce. A financially disadvantaged spouse married for 3-years (or more) can request maintenance. In the past, Judges had very little guidance in determining when to award maintenance and even less regarding the amount or length of payments. The lack of legislative guidance produced dramatically inconsistent results within the same jurisdiction as well as across Colorado. The current guidelines were created to promote a uniform application of maintenance throughout the state. A spreadsheet based on the current guidelines calculates maintenance using the length of the marriage and the parties’ income. The guidelines have produced more consistent results.

About Maintenance

Today, maintenance is routinely awarded when one spouse is financially disadvantaged and the other has the means to pay. Maintenance is a function of the parties’ income and length of the marriage. Except in extraordinary circumstances, maintenance is only available for marriages of 3-years or more. The guidelines begin at 3-years (or 36-months) and cover up to 20-years (or 240-months).

At 3-years, the guidelines maintenance term is 31% the length of the marriage, or 11-months. The guidelines cover monthly increments from 36-months (3-years) to 240-months (20-years). The percentage gradually increases from 3-years at 31% until a 12.5-year marriage’s term equals 50% or 71-months. The percentage remains 50% from 12.5-years (or 150-months) to the end of the chart at 20-years (or 240-months).

Marriages over 20-years are subject to judicial discretion. Some Judges use the “50% rule” meaning maintenance payments last for half the length of the marriage (30-year or 360-month marriage=15-years or 180-months of maintenance). Other Judges require maintenance payments for the lifetime of the disadvantaged spouse. A very scary prospect for the breadwinner and it recently became even more troublesome due to Trump’s recent tax reform.

Modern Family Law Compassionate Innovative Respected

Our Attorneys Are Ready To Listen

Our experienced family law attorneys have the knowledge, resources, and dedication to prepare your case and protect your interests to find the best possible outcome.

Maintenance is Changing

Trump’s tax reform takes effect in January 2019 and will change how maintenance is taxed by the IRS. Historically, the IRS allocated maintenance as income to the recipient. The spouse paying maintenance at least got to deduct the full amount pre-tax. However, after January 2019, the spouse paying maintenance will be taxed as if the maintenance was their income. This a big change that can have significant tax ramifications especially for longer marriages with significant assets.

The purpose of the change is unclear. Under Trump’s new law, the IRS theoretically will collect more revenue because the spouse with the higher income will not be allowed to deduct maintenance payments. Certainly, the new law helps the disadvantaged spouse because they get to keep the full-value without being taxed.

If you need help with a divorce or any other related issues, please contact one of our attorneys at Modern Family Law.

Our Calculators

We’re not fans of surprises and we suspect you aren’t either. We built these divorce calculators just for you, so you know what to expect every step of the way.

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced family law attorneys takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. Our attorneys currently practice in Colorado, California, and Texas. Click the following link to view all of our family law locations. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

Posted January 19, 2018
by: MFL Team

Related Resources

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

What Qualifies A Spouse For Alimony?

Navigating the complexities of a divorce includes understanding the nuances of alimony, or spousal support, which can vary significantly across states like Colorado, California,…

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

What Is Alimony?

Alimony, often a critical aspect of divorce proceedings, aims to balance financial disparities between spouses post-divorce. Its implementation and specifics can vary greatly from…

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Alimony: Essential Insights Before You Consider Divorce

Imagine a couple, Sarah and John, who once dreamt of a life filled with love and shared dreams. As years passed, their paths diverged,…


Free Consultation