New Colorado Spousal Maintenance Law Explained

Colorado has a new maintenance law that went into effect January 1, 2014. The new law states that a term of maintenance will be based on percentage calculations of the parties’ incomes. The resulting maintenance calculation is based on 40 percent of the high income earner’s monthly income and subtracting 50 percent of the lower earner’s monthly income. The law also provides additional factors such as duration of the marriage, child support orders, and marital property.

The law is part of a national movement to craft maintenance laws so that orders are more predictable and consistent. Many states have converted to a formula calculation to address issues of unfairness, unpredictability and inconsistencies; however, these new laws remain guidelines for judges. The ultimate decision will be determined by the judge, who is allowed latitude in his or her decision making.

The recent high profile divorce of Patrick Dempsey is a great example for a maintenance calculation example. A calculation where Patrick Dempsey earns $3,000 a month and his wife earns $1000.00 a month, would equal a maintenance order for Patrick to pay his wife $1700.00 a month. However, the law includes a provision for parties who earn above $360,000 adjusted annual gross income, as we know the Dempseys earn a lot more than that per month! Moreover, Dempsey would pay that amount for 90 months or 7.5 years, half of the duration of the marriage. The duration is determined by a table included in the law that outlines the term of maintenance based of the duration of the marriage (in whole months).

Have further questions about maintenance in Colorado? Contact Jones Law Firm, PC at (888) 850-9851 to schedule a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys.