How Long Do You Have to Pay for Spousal Maintenance in Colorado?

How Long Do You Have to Pay for Spousal Maintenance in Colorado?

a woman taking off her wedding ringEnding a marriage is never easy. It can be even harder for the spouse who doesn’t have his or her own source of income. Fortunately, parties who gave up their jobs to stay at home to raise the children or support their spouse’s professional career can be eligible for spousal support after a divorce in Colorado.

But what if you’re the one who has to pay spousal maintenance? How long will you have to pay for it?

According to the Colorado maintenance statutes, the term of support varies from case to case and depends upon the length of the marriage. Here are a few snippets from the statutory guidelines:

Spousal Support for a Marriage Under Three Years

For the spousal maintenance statutory guidelines to apply, the couple must have been married for at least 36 months before the divorce. But this doesn’t mean that the court doesn’t award spousal maintenance for short-term marriages that end in divorce.

If the court decides that spousal support is necessary for a couple who were married for less than three years, it will consider a variety of factors to determine the amount and duration equitable for that case.

Spousal Maintenance for Marriages Between Three and 20 Years

Family law attorneys in Denver say that the court follows specific guidelines to determine the duration of spousal support for marriages between three and 20 years — unless there is a valid reason for the court to deviate from said guidelines.

Based on the statutes, if you and your ex-spouse were married for three years, and the court awarded maintenance to your former partner, you have to pay spousal support for 11 months. For marriages that lasted 20 years, the duration of spousal maintenance is 120 months or ten years.

Spousal Support for Marriages That Lasted More Than 20 Years

If you and your ex-spouse had a marriage that lasted over 20 years, and you had to pay spousal support, the court can do one of the following:

- Specify the duration of maintenance that’s similar to a 20-year marriage, which is ten years and the maximum length of spousal support stated in the guidelines

- Go above that maximum duration

- Award indefinite spousal maintenance

As mentioned, the court may consider other factors apart from the length of marriage when deciding the duration of spousal support. It is best you seek advice from a lawyer with experience in family law to know exactly how long you have to pay for spousal support.

About the Author