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Colorado is what is known as a “no-fault” divorce state, so couples who want to divorce can do so without proving a reason why, as long as the marriage is irretrievably broken. When both spouses agree that the marriage is broken, they can file for divorce
and proceed through the case. However, if one spouse alleges the marriage is not broken, the court will examine the evidence about what has led up to the divorce and may order counseling for the couple first, allowing them to return to court after a
specified period of time.
The property that is addressed in a divorce is whatever is considered “marital,” and this is usually anything that was acquired by either spouse after the marriage date that was not a specific inheritance or gift to one spouse. Anything not considered
marital property is separate property that belongs to the spouse who received it.
Divorce laws in Colorado direct the courts to divide property between the spouses in a way that is equitable, and this does not always mean the property will be divided equally. The court looks at many factors when determining what is equitable, including:
In a divorce with children involved, the court tends to prefer to give the family home to the spouse with whom the children will live most of the time. Naturally, this does not apply in a divorce without children, so there may be more options to explore
when it comes to what to do with the martial residence.
Also known as alimony and spousal support, spousal maintenance is an amount of money one spouse has to pay to the other spouse during and after the divorce. This is meant to help a spouse who does not have the resources to support themselves financially
and is unable to do so through employment. Colorado does not automatically grant a spouse the right to receive maintenance, even if one spouse does need it. The court will consider many factors, such as the standard of living the spouses had during
the marriage and the other spouse’s ability to pay, before granting any maintenance.
Generally speaking, the court is more likely to award maintenance in longer marriages, such as unions lasting 20 years or more. The death of either party or the remarriage of the receiving spouse will terminate maintenance.
When a couple’s combined income is less than $75,000 per year, there is a presumed level of temporary maintenance the courts will go with prior to the final order unless evidence dictates a different amount. The temporary maintenance awarded will be
40 percent of the monthly income of the spouse who earns more minus half of the lower-earning spouse’s monthly income. If, for example, one spouse earns $5,000 each month while the other earns $2,000 each month, the lower-earning spouse would receive
$1,000 each month ($2,000 – $1,000). However, this standard does not apply to couples who have a combined income that exceeds $75,000. Instead, the judge is supposed to use the guidelines for post-divorce maintenance, which include:
Because of all the factors involved, it’s important to have all of the information correct when it comes to spousal maintenance awards. Speak to an attorney immediately if you expect spousal maintenance to become a part of your case.
While a divorce without children can be less complex, there are still many areas that could cause snags in your case. The decisions made in your divorce will affect your financial future, so having experienced legal representation can make a significant
difference in your case’s outcome.