In Colorado, courts do not follow a strict mathematical formula for permanent spousal maintenance, but instead follow fair and equitable guidelines. With the exception of temporary maintenance for lower income spouses, which does have a specific formula, the courts can consider any relevant factors in making their determination. As a result, while the state's statutes include only mandatory overtime in calculating income, courts may also look at voluntary overtime if the court finds it relevant.
When determining whether to award spousal maintenance, courts in Colorado will consider the income of each spouse. Income for spousal maintenance is generally determined the same way child support is. With child support, the court will consider overtime only if it is required by the employer, not if the spouse voluntarily works overtime hours.
In Colorado, either spouse may request temporary maintenance, which awards support to one spouse during the divorce proceedings and ends as soon as the final order is in place. The court will award temporary maintenance only if a spouse requests it. When the couple's combined income is less than $75,000, the court determines the income of each spouse and multiplies the higher income by 40 percent. The lower income is multiplied by 50 percent and subtracted from the percentage of the higher income. If money is left over, the lower income spouse will receive that amount in temporary support. However, if the couple's combined income is over $75,000, the court will not use a strict formula, but instead will consider each spouse's reasonable needs and financial resources to determine if temporary support is necessary.
Final and Permanent Orders
When determining the amount of spousal support to award after the divorce, the court has a bit more discretion to consider any relevant factors to come up with a fair and just amount of spousal support. The court will award support only if one spouse does not have the resources to reasonably support herself. In addition to both spouses' income, the court will consider factors such as voluntary overtime, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the length of the marriage and each spouse's health. In most cases where a spouse is awarded support, it will be periodic support, paid over a period of time. However, the court may also award lump sum support, where the spouse only makes one payment.
Modification and Termination
Certain circumstances may allow either spouse to request a modification of spousal maintenance, or circumstances may automatically terminate the support order. Generally, if the circumstances have substantially changed since the time of the order -- such as one spouse's income greatly increasing or decreasing -- then you may request a modification with the same court that issued the original order. Further, support may automatically end at a time specified in the original order. Generally, support terminates when the receiving spouse remarries, or when either spouse dies.