How long does alimony or spousal maintenance last?
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How long does alimony or spousal maintenance last?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Property Division |

Separating financial resources is an important element of a Colorado divorce. In addition to dividing property, divorcing spouses also need to address ongoing financial support. Child support is typically automatic and lasts until young adults are old enough to live independently.

Alimony or spousal maintenance requires intentional action on the part of the spouses divorcing. A lower-earning or dependent spouse typically needs to file a request with the courts to receive temporary spousal maintenance during the divorce and longer-term maintenance payments after the divorce.

Both those paying and those receiving spousal maintenance may have questions about the rules that govern the financial obligations of one spouse to the other after divorce proceedings. How long does spousal maintenance typically last after a divorce?

Marriage duration and needs determine order length

Judges look at numerous different factors when deciding how long spousal maintenance payments should last after a divorce. The duration of the marriage is one of the most important considerations. Shorter marriages are often subject to shorter maintenance orders. State law has rules for shorter marriages expressed as a percentage of the duration of the marriage.

However, once spouses have remained married for at least 12 and a half years, the courts may award a dependent spouse maintenance that lasts up to half of the length of the marriage. After 20 years of marriage, the possibility for indefinite or permanent spousal maintenance exists.

Still, permanent awards are uncommon. They usually reflect egregious discrepancies in earning potential, serious health issues experienced by one spouse or an arrangement to provide ongoing care for a shared child with disabling medical conditions that may limit one spouse’s earning potential indefinitely.

The courts create unique spousal maintenance orders for each divorce case a judge hears. Spouses do potentially have the option of settling maintenance matters by cooperating with one another instead of litigating and asking a judge to set those terms.

Those who understand the rules that govern alimony or spousal maintenance in Colorado can set realistic goals for their upcoming divorce proceedings. Learning about Colorado’s unique divorce statutes can benefit those concerned about the financial implications of an upcoming divorce.