On January 1st, 2014, new guidelines for spousal maintenance (sometimes known as alimony or spousal support) went into effect after being passed by the Colorado legislature in 2013. The maintenance guidelines attempted to make maintenance more like temporary maintenance and child support that use basic spreadsheets that make the monetary amounts universal based on the incomes of each spouse makes and how long they were married. This was a response to maintenance awards in the past that were completely up to the discretion of the judge. Many cases would have similar fact patterns but based on which judge the case was in front of, there could be massively different maintenance awards. Critics replied that the new guidelines awarded maintenance too often and in cases where it would be unnecessary. Also, the guidelines are not mandatory and judges can deviate from them at any time.
So, how have the maintenance guidelines been used in practice over the past eight months? It seems that the concern that judges will deviate from the guidelines is largely without merit. It is the personal experience of this law firm that the amount of maintenance is usually in line with what the guidelines order, with some small deviations. The guidelines have created a much higher level of certainty in dissolution of marriage actions and parties have not been left guessing to maintenance as has been the case. It also seems that maintenance is being ordered in more cases than before based on the guidelines.
If you are thinking about divorce from your spouse, it is incredibly important that you consult an attorney about all issues, including maintenance. Maintenance awards can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars and last for years. The attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber and Associates have experience arguing for and against maintenance and have successfully argued modifications of maintenance decisions in certain cases. Call us today for a free consultation at (720)863-7755.