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How courts decide on spousal maintenance

In divorces where one spouse's earning potential is much higher than the other spouse's, Colorado courts may rule that justice requires the higher-earning spouse to pay maintenance, also known as alimony. Understanding the law is key to these situations.

The following will be considered with maintenance, its amount and duration: the financial resources of the spouse who is receiving maintenance and if he or she can meet their needs; the financial resources of the spouse who is paying and if the payments can be met; what the marital lifestyle was; how marital property will be distributed; the income, employment, ability to be employed and if there is a reduction of employment because of a child; and if one spouse had a higher or lower income when compared with the other.

It will also be important to consider: how long the marriage lasted; if there was temporary maintenance; how old the parties are; their health status; if there are economic and non-economic contributions to the marriage; if the situation at the time of a permanent order is sufficient to warrant a maintenance claim in the future; and other factors that the court will consider relevant.

When considering parting ways with a spouse, one of the biggest sticking points is financial. This is true for the breadwinning spouse and the spouse who either earns less or is a stay at home part of the marriage. Having a basic grasp of the law for maintenance is useful. But nothing can replace cogent legal advice from a law firm that specializes in family law and divorce. Calling for help is a wise first step.

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