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New Colorado Maintenance Guidelines

On January 1, 2014, Colorado instituted a new guideline formula for determining maintenance (spousal support/alimony). Behind the maintenance guideline was the Legislatures’ realization that, a person’s maintenance award could suffer great variance based solely on what county they were in, what judge they had, or what lawyer they had. The maintenance guideline was intended to create a baseline for judges and create a greater level of predictability in maintenance awards. While judges still have the discretion to deviate from the maintenance guideline amount, they now have a starting point.

Per the maintenance guideline, and in general:

  • Maintenance is not typically awarded for marriages that lasted less than three years;

  • The maintenance guideline does not apply where the combined adjusted gross annual income exceeds $250,000;

  • The term of maintenance for a marriage that lasts twenty or more years may not be less than ten years;

  • The amount of maintenance is based on a formula:

    • 40% higher monthly income – 50% lower monthly income.

    • But, when adding maintenance to the gross income of the lower earner, the lower earner’s resulting total monthly income (including maintenance) may not exceed 40% of the parties’ combined monthly adjusted gross income.

  • The duration of maintenance is determined by a percentage of the time the parties were married. For a three year marriage, the duration of maintenance is 31% of the marriage term, or 11 months. The amount increases by approximately .17% for each additional month of marriage.

However, the court retains the authority to modify the amount and term of support based on other factors it considers. The actual orders that are entered are dependent on the circumstances of the parties as they exist at the time of a permanent orders hearing. Therefore, while the maintenance guideline is a good indicator, it is not hard and fast. It is, after all, only a guideline.

If you have questions about maintenance or other family law matters, please contact us. We are here to help protect you, your assets, and your family.