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 children full-time.
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!