One of the biggest reasons marriages continue past their sell-by date is simple economics. One, or both parties, cannot afford to separate. Even if a couple can scrape together the money to pay for the legal process of divorce, the prospect of living a financially independent life may seem a distant fantasy due to the high cost of living in Boulder.

However, Colorado law recognizes that financial hardship often occurs after a divorce, and it makes some provisions to help. Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, seeks to enable the spouse that earns less to move on with their life, through a little help from their ex.

The first thing to know is that if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. Secondly, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can agree about it, or you can let a judge decide if you can’t.

Colorado’s General Assembly drew up guidelines for judges to use when awarding spousal maintenance. They say it should be “an amount and for a term that is fair and equitable to both parties.” The guidelines do not consider marital misconduct. Spousal maintenance awards are designed to help, not punish; this is where they differ from alimony as awarded in some other states.

These are some of the factors taken into account when determining how the guidelines apply to you:

  • How long you were married
  • Your income and financial resources
  • Your financial needs
  • How marital property was split

A Boulder attorney can help you understand more about spousal maintenance, whether you hope to receive it, or are expected to pay it.