Spousal support is an issue that can arise in or after divorce. Also referred to as maintenance or alimony, spousal support is generally meant to provide one spouse with post-divorce financial support when (s)he lacks financial resources and/or the ability to support him- or herself by working.
Whether you are facing a maintenance dispute in or after divorce, you can rely on the Boulder alimony lawyers at The Datz Law Firm for superior, aggressive advocacy. Focused on helping our clients protect their rights and interests, we are proud to offer the same type of legal representation and client-centered service that we would demand if we were in our clients’ shoes.
Call (720) 573-0539 or Email Us for Crucial Insights Regarding Alimony & Spousal Support Disputes
While our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday through Friday), we are also available to meet with clients during the evenings and weekends. We are flexible, available and responsive so you can get the answers and information you need whenever your legal issues arise.
Is Spousal Support Guaranteed in Divorce?
No, there are no guarantees that either spouse will be awarded – or will be ordered to pay – maintenance to the other spouse.
In general, alimony can be established in one of the following ways:
- By agreement between the divorcing parties – If the spouses can come to an agreement about whether spousal support should be paid and, if so, the amount and duration of these payments, they can submit their agreement to the family court for review and approval. The court will usually stand by and approve the agreements divorcing parties have worked out on their own with regards to alimony.
- By a valid pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement – In some cases, the terms of spousal support may be clearly defined by a pre- or post-nuptial agreement. As long as the agreement is legally valid, the terms it contains regarding maintenance will be legally binding through divorce.
- By the court – When spouses cannot agree on maintenance issues and/or when there may be disputes regarding the validity of a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, it will be up to the family court to resolve the matter and determine whether spousal support should be ordered.
How Does the Court Decide Whether to Award Alimony?
When maintenance disputes come before the court, the court will consider a number of factors to determine whether to order these payments.1 These factors include (and may not be limited to):
- The length of the marriage – Courts tend to be more inclined to award spousal support when a marriage has lasted for a longer period of time (like a decade or longer).
- The standard of living during the marriage – Courts will examine both spouses’ income and expenditures, as well as other factors, when evaluating the standard of living established during a marriage.
- The financial resources of both parties – This includes the income either or both parties earn, as well as the property or assets already awarded to each spouse as part of the division of the marital property.
- The ability of one spouse to pay alimony – Courts will evaluate whether the spouse from whom maintenance is being requested will still be able to cover his or her other expenses if these payments are awarded. As part of this consideration, the court may also look at whether the potential payer has other court-ordered payments, like child support, to make.
- The future earning capacity of the party requesting spousal support – Courts will examine the maintenance seeker’s ability to obtain future employment, taking into consideration whether additional education and/or training would open up earning opportunities for the requesting party.
Can Spousal Support Be Modified?
Yes. After maintenance has been ordered, it may be modified in the future if or when the circumstances of the payer or payee have significantly changed in way that renders the current payments unwarranted or unreasonable.
While the grounds for seeking a maintenance modification can vary, in general, these can include (and are not limited to):
- Loss of employment
- The birth of a new child
- A new health impairment or condition.
Please note, however, that maintenance modifications may be precluded or limited in some cases. For instance, the terms of a divorce decree (or an existing pre- or post-nuptial agreement) may stipulate that maintenance cannot be changed or that a specific event (like the birth of a new child) may trigger a review of spousal support payments.
When Do Spousal Support Payments Stop?
There are generally three ways that maintenance payments can come to an end, including when:
- An existing, legally binding agreement determines these payments should stop.
- The payer or the payee passes away.
- The payee remarries.
If the financial circumstances of the payer or payee substantially change outside of one of the above events, either party may petition the court to seek a termination of maintenance payments.
An Experienced Boulder Divorce Lawyer at The Datz Law Firm Can Help You Resolve Maintenance Issues: Contact Us
If you are dealing with spousal support issues in or after divorce, contact a Boulder divorce lawyer at The Datz Law Firm to find out more about your options for protecting your interests as you proceed.
Call (720) 573-0539 or email us for a case evaluation and important legal advice.
Dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights, the attorneys at The Datz Law Firm are also committed to:
- Understanding our clients’ circumstances
- Providing compassionate representation
- Making sure that our clients clearly understand their legal options so that they know what to expect – and so they have peace of mind – as their case progresses.
The Datz Law Firm provides top-notch representation to clients throughout Boulder County and the state of Colorado.
1: More information & forms from the Colorado Courts regarding Maintenance