The payers and receivers of alimony are participating in a valuable tradition that helps protect the individual liberties of those who get married. Essentially, alimony prevents an individual from becoming an economic slave, and staying in a toxic or unhappy marriage due to economic dependency on the higher-earning spouse.
That being said, the societal benefits that allow lesser-moneyed spouses to free themselves from an unhappy marriage do not mean that the alimony payer should have to break the bank to meet his or her monthly payment obligations. Furthermore, in the vast majority of cases, alimony will not be permanent. Colorado courts will strive to set alimony amounts to be affordable and temporary to ensure that the amount to be paid is practically sufficient to assist the lesser moneyed spouse in becoming financially independent.
Factors that determine the amount to be paid in alimony
Here are some factors that will determine how much a spouse should pay in alimony:
The length of the marriage. Courts will usually award more alimony money to a spouse who has been married for a longer period of time. Alimony payments will usually be much higher and endure for longer when the marriage has lasted 10 years as opposed to lasting only one year.
The ages, physical conditions, emotional states, financial conditions and incomes of both spouses. Courts will never force the "moneyed" spouse into paying more money than he or she can afford to the "lesser-moneyed" spouse. In determining what a spouse can afford to pay, the court will look at the age, emotional state, and physical and financial condition of the moneyed spouse. It will also review the same for the less-moneyed spouse to determine what he or she needs financially.
The standard of living enjoyed by the couple while married. Courts will strive to set alimony payments at a level that allows the less-moneyed spouse to maintain the same standard of living enjoyed in the marriage, within reason. Of course, if the spouses were only capable of enjoying a high standard of living because they lived off credit cards and debt, the court will not require the moneyed spouse to go further into debt to support a financially irresponsible way of living.
What the less-moneyed spouse requires to become financially independent. Alimony should serve as a financial bridge, allowing the lesser-moneyed spouse enough time and financial freedom to obtain the requisite education or training to acquire an independent job and income of his or her own.
Learn more about Colorado alimony law
Divorcing spouses who learn more about alimony law in Colorado will have a better chance of protecting their financial rights and options during their divorce proceedings. When it comes to alimony in Colorado, "knowing" is half the battle.