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Divorce laws updated

To an extent, divorce has become a game of chance. Depending on presiding judges and what court district handles the case, divorcing couples in and near Denver, Colorado, with similar circumstances may be assigned wildly different support arrangements. "Alimony" has become a charged word in the lexicon of the divorcing or recently divorced.

Colorado's divorce laws are receiving an update, which isĀ applicable to all couples filing for divorce in 2014. The goal of this update is to reduce or eliminate discrepancies in support arrangements that involve couples with similar situations. However, the update is a set of guidelines, as opposed to being as rigid as a law. This allows presiding judges to deviate from the recommended support arrangements if they feel that an individual case's circumstances merit an exception. This sets the process apart from the child support process, which has strict legal guidelines.

The new support recommendations for maintenance involves using 40 percent of the higher-paid party's monthly income, half of the lower-paid party's income and consideration of assets, children and the time the marriage lasted to decide on a reasonable maintenance plan for the lower-income party. Even with a prenuptial agreement, divorce legal issues can arise and complicate alimony arrangements, so the new guidelines may help streamline the typically difficult process.

The implementation of new measures is designed to help divorcing couples feel less like they're playing the lottery when they arrange for alimony or spousal support. If the implementation is as successful as planned, spousal support awards will become more consistent and fair, even across districts. Legal guidance may benefit a divorcing couple as they navigate the newly-overhauled guidelines for spousal support.

Source: The Denver Post, "Colorado's divorce laws receiving an update", Kristen Kidd, December 27, 2013

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