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What factors will a court consider when awarding spousal support?

When a Colorado couple decides to end their marriage, one issue they may inevitably face is that of spousal support. The state of Colorado recognizes that while sometimes spousal support is just and necessary, it is important that there is consistency between spousal support awards in the state. To that end, the state enacted statutory guidelines to be used when determining how long a spouse should pay spousal support for, and in what amount.

When a party is requesting spousal support in a divorce, before either granting or denying their request, the court will consider each party's gross income, what portion of the couple's marital property was awarded to each party, each party's financial resources, including any actual or potential income that could be made from a party's property and the party's financial needs as they were when the couple was married. After taking all of these considerations into effect, the court will determine an award of spousal support that is both equitable and fair to all involved, utilizing statutory guidelines regarding how long the couple was married and what their combined gross income is.

That being said, state statutes also provide certain factors that can be considered when awarding spousal support. These include the spouse's financial resources, including the receiving spouse's ability to meet their financial needs on their own. It also includes the paying spouse's ability to pay spousal support and still meet their own reasonable financial needs. The couple's lifestyle while married may be considered, as may what each party was awarded in the property division process.

Each party's income, employment and employability through reasonable diligence may be considered, including whether a spouse needs to either go back to school or, alternatively, to stay at home to take care of the children. A spouse's earning history may be considered, as may how long the marriage lasted. Each spouse's age and health may be considered. Also, if one spouse significantly contributed to the marriage or the advancement of the other spouse's job, this may be considered.

As this shows, while there are guidelines in place to help make sure spousal supports are fair across the state, there is still leeway to consider each couple's unique circumstances. Therefore, those who are in the divorce process and want more information about spousal support may want to seek the advice of an attorney.

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