Ending a marriage is not easy, even (or especially) if the decision was not yours. You might be feeling angry at your spouse and scared about what your future will look like. You can also feel overwhelmed by the prospect of supporting yourself, particularly if your spouse was the primary earner in your family.
If you are in this situation, one important thing to know is that you may be in a position to collect financial support in the form of spousal maintenance. Below, we explain who is eligible for maintenance and what you can do if you are interested in pursuing it.
Who is eligible?
In accordance with Colorado maintenance statutes, a spouse who has a need for support from a party who can provide it could be eligible for spousal maintenance. Often, parties who gave up their own careers to stay at home or support a spouse's professional endeavors can be eligible for support, as a divorce would leave them at a serious financial disadvantage.
Parties can either come to an agreement on maintenance themselves through a prenuptial agreement or mediation, or the courts can make a decision.
How much can a person receive?
Some parties need long-term support; others need short-term, transitional support. Amounts will depend on the parties' financial means. As such, calculating amount and duration of maintenance is complicated. When making these decisions, Colorado courts must consider numerous factors, including:
- Each person's income
- The property division settlement
- Each person's financial resources outside of income
- The financial need established while the couple was married
- The length of the marriage (generally, longer marriages will result in longer periods of maintenance)
These and other factors allow courts (or divorcing parties) to make determinations on spousal maintenance.
What to do if you want to pursue spousal support
If you have questions about receiving or paying spousal support, it can be helpful to consult a family law attorney. While this post provides some general information about Colorado laws and practices, every case is different and warrants specific guidance from an experienced attorney.