Will You Need Spousal Maintenance After a Colorado Divorce?

Far too many people seem to stay in unhappy marriages for purely financial reasons. It is a common issue, as many people cannot maintain the lifestyle they want on a single income. For those who stay home to care for the house or raise children, concerns about the ability to independently support themselves may be even more serious.

Worrying about whether you could make enough income to rent a home, pay for food and cover utilities is common, particularly if you have been out of the workforce for some time. The more demanding your duties as a parent, the more difficult it could be to balance a career and your other obligations to your children after a divorce.

Spousal support, known as maintenance in Colorado and alimony in other places, is often an integral component to a financially independent future after a divorce. Spousal maintenance can help cover the cost of living while you pursue an education to rejoin the workforce and command a competitive, livable wage while you care for the children who depend on you.

Maintenance is not automatic in Colorado divorces

Unlike child support, which is essentially automatic in divorces with minor children, spousal maintenance payments require someone asking for them, in most cases. You are going to need to request that the courts allocate assets or income to you as part of the divorce to close the gap between what you can currently make and what it will take to support yourself and your children.

In most circumstances, the courts will order maintenance for a specific amount of time, depending on the circumstances in your family. This could be for anywhere from several months to several years. Permanent maintenance awards can happen, however, they are not as common.

Your needs and the needs of your children influence maintenance

An illness is a common reason for men to file for divorce from their wives. Whether you find yourself dealing with a degenerative condition or cancer, going through a divorce while battling an illness is not an easy prospect. The courts will look at any health conditions you have that impact your ability to work and support yourself.

The courts will also look at the parenting role you fulfill and the needs of your children. If you have a child with special needs, for example, the courts will likely recognize that it will be more difficult or perhaps impossible for you to ever return to full-time work if you provide primary care for the child throughout the day.

The amount of maintenance you receive will likely vary depending on your family's overall income, the length of your marriage and the factors that influence your current earning or work potential.