The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Denver’s award-winning family law trial advocates. We’re experts in THE COLORADO MAINTENANCE GUIDELINE.
Call us today with your Colorado THE COLORADO MAINTENANCE GUIDELINE issue. (303) 502-9600.
The New Maintenance “Guideline”
In 2014, Colorado introduced a new guideline for permanent maintenance. The new law is designed to address criticisms about a lack of consistency in orders for permanent maintenance. The guideline applies to all parties whose combined income is less than or equal to $240,000, and proscribes a “recommended” duration and amount of maintenance to be paid.
Interestingly, the court is free to completely disregard the guideline as long as it gets calculated. The court retains complete discretion to impose a permanent maintenance award that is “fair and equitable to both parties based upon the totality of the circumstances.” The court is also required to consider all of the following discretionary factors before entering a permanent maintenance order:
- the financial resources of the spouse who is seeking maintenance (alimony), including any award of marital property or child support;
- the future earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance, and any time necessary for education and training;
- the financial resources of the spouse who will be paying maintenance;
- the standard of living established by the couple during the marriage;
- the duration of the marriage; and
- the physical and emotional condition and age of the spouse seeking maintenance.
Regardless of your income, if you have been married for more than three years and you and your spouse haven’t signed a pre- or post-nuptial agreement waiving maintenance, you need to talk with a Colorado maintenance lawyer. Call the Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers. 303-502-9600.
Duration of Maintenance.
There is no maintenance guideline for marriages of less than three years. Beginning at three years of marriage, the proposed duration of maintenance is 11 months, which represents 31% of the length of the marriage. That percentage increases gradually with the length of the marriage. After five years of marriage the recommended duration of permanent maintenance is 21 months (35%). After ten years of marriage the recommended maintenance term is five and one-half years (45%). For all marriages that last twelve and a half years or more, the recommended term of maintenance is 50% of the length of the marriage. If a marriage lasts more than 20 years, the court is required to make factual findings why it does not order maintenance for at least one half of the length of the marriage.
Amount of Maintenance
The guideline amount of maintenance is 40% of the top earner’s adjusted gross monthly income minus 50% of other parties’ adjusted gross monthly income (the same formula used to calculate temporary maintenance). If one of the spouses isn’t working, the guideline amount is simply 40% of the working spouse’s adjusted gross income. That’s a lot. Not surprisingly, the party paying maintenance commonly tries to prove that the other is capable of working or—if already working—capable of earning more. Vocational evaluations can be useful in this regard.
Contact an Experienced Denver Maintenance Attorney about the New Permanent Maintenance Guideline
Despite the Colorado maintenance guideline, it is difficult to predict whether a court will award maintenance and on what terms. We can advise you of your rights. Call the Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers. 303-502-9600.