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New alimony laws in Colorado

A new law concerning alimony will go into effect in Colorado on Jan. 1. The new legislation has been called groundbreaking by the director of client development for the Harris Law Firm. She stated that for the first time Colorado will have a formula for determining maintenance. The new maintenance formulas are supposed to be designed to provide more consistency in maintenance orders. They are also supposed to limit or standardize spousal maintenance payments.

Many other states have switched to using maintenance formulas similar to those used to determine child support payments. The guidelines that Colorado plans on imposing will help courts calculate the amount and length of maintenance orders for marriages that lasted between 3 and 20 years and had an annual combined income of $240,000 or less. All divorce cases filed after Jan. 1 will have the new legislation applied to them.

However, some people are uncertain as to how closely the new guidelines will be followed by judges since they are only suggestions for judges to follow. How much spousal maintenance, if any, will be still left up to the discretion of the judge, and who will consider other factors such as each spouse's individual income, financial resources and needs as well as the couple's marital property? The support is reportedly calculated by taking 40 percent of the higher income earner's monthly income and subtracting 50 percent of the lower income earner's monthly income. How long the marriage lasted as well as how much marital property is involved also influences the calculation.

People wanting to file for divorces from their spouses might seek the services of family law attorneys to assist them in doing so. Attorneys might be able to help them work out issues such as alimony, child support and division of property.

Source: Denver Post, "New law changes alimony landscape for divorcing Colorado couples", Colleen O'Connor, October 18, 2013

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