In the United States, spouses are expected to financially support each
other and that does not necessarily end when a couple divorces. Often,
one spouse will methodically withdraw from the workforce in order to take
care of the couple’s home or to take care of the couple’s
Such extended absences from the workforce can affect a spouse's earning
capacity, and thus, the spouse who was unemployed or working part-time
during a marriage can be at a financial disadvantage in the event of divorce,
and the Colorado courts recognize this fact.
Regardless if a spouse was unemployed or underemployed, the court may award
alimony, also referred to as “maintenance” in a Colorado divorce.
In fact, the court may award maintenance, even if the lower-earning spouse
has a full-time job, especially if he or she earns significantly less
than the paying spouse.
Alimony in Colorado Divorces
Alimony or maintenance is money that a financially better off spouse pays
to the other spouse after they become legally separated or divorced. Alimony
is not automatically awarded in Colorado divorces, but a judge may award
it if the lower-earning spouse can show that he or she does not have enough
resources to support themselves initially, and upon separation from their spouse.
In Colorado, the court awards alimony through three methods: 1) a lump
sum payment, 2) through a property transfer, or 3) as periodic alimony.
Period alimony is usually paid in the form of monthly payments, and it
lasts until one of the following occurs:
- A court order says it ends
- Either spouse dies
- The supported spouse remarries
It is very common for supported spouses to remarry. So, it’s understandable
why the paying spouse would want to know if their obligation to pay alimony
ends when their spouse remarries.
In Colorado, the paying spouse is no longer obligated to pay periodic alimony
if their ex-husband or wife remarries, unless the couple signed an agreement
that specifically says otherwise.
As a general rule, the paying spouse can simply stop paying alimony on
the date the supported spouse remarries, and they do not have to return
to court. However, remarriage only terminates alimony in terms of periodic
alimony. If the alimony is in the form of a lump sum payment or a transfer
of property, then remarriage does not cancel the paying spouse’s
obligation to pay.
Note: It is possible for the court to terminate periodic alimony payments
if there has been a significant change in circumstances, for example,
the receiving spouse has acquired a high-paying job and no longer needs
the support. But, the alimony payments do not end until there is a court
order that terminates them.
To learn more about alimony in Colorado divorces, don’t hesitate to contact
Jones Law Firm, PC to schedule a
free consultation with a Denver divorce attorney!