Spousal Alimony – Applying Formulas

There are formulas the Colorado court system uses to determine eligibility for spousal maintenance: for a couple with a combined annual gross income of $75,000 or less, a monthly payment will typically go to the lower earner – 40 percent of the higher earner’s monthly adjusted gross income, minus 50 percent of the lower earner’s monthly adjusted gross income.

Before applying any formula, the court subtracts from each spouse’s income any pre-existing spousal support payments either spouse makes to a previous spouse, as well as any child support payments either spouse makes toward a child outside of the current marriage.

If either spouse feels the formula is unfair, he or she can request a deviation, and should supply the judge with a specific reason. It is also possible for both spouses to decide to waive maintenance for the lower earning spouse, but it may be rejected by a judge who considers that unfair.
If the couple’s combined gross income is above $75,000, the spouse seeking maintenance typically would need to prove a lack of assets, a lack of self-supporting employment, or is primary parent for a child with needs or circumstances that make employment impossible at that time. In Colorado, the court considers need, future earning capacity, standard of living, length of marriage and ability to pay, not fault.

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