For Colorado couples going through a divorce, spousal support negotiations can be one of the most difficult aspects to navigate. Spousal support is not only a financial consideration but also an emotional one; after all, you’re making arrangements for a relationship that is ending and often deciding on how much money each person will receive in the process.
To ensure that spousal support agreements are fair for both parties involved and legally sound within state laws, it is important to familiarize yourself with the process for determining spousal support in Colorado. Keep reading for a review of how basic alimony is determined and your options for negotiating an agreement beyond the court-required minimums.
Overview of Spousal Support in Colorado
In Colorado, the courts use a variety of factors when making spousal support determinations. This includes the gross income of both parties, their financial resources and potential income, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the ages and health of each spouse, and their educational level. The length of the marriage is also taken into account when deciding how much and for how long alimony should be awarded.
There are four types of spousal support in Colorado:
In cases where the couple was married for three to twenty years with adjusted gross incomes not exceeding $240,000, support is calculated by awarding a certain percentage of adjusted gross income based on the number of months for which they were married. When a couple has been married for over 20 years, alimony may be awarded either for a designated term or permanently.
Review our blog for more information on how the Colorado court system determines spousal support.
Basic Considerations in Negotiating Spousal Support Beyond the Court Requirements
Prenuptial and marital agreements can play an important role in the process of determining spousal support. These agreements are legally binding documents that allow divorcing couples to have some degree of control over their alimony arrangement. With a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, they can outline specific details concerning how much money will be paid and under what circumstances, providing a sense of assurance for both parties involved.
In addition, such agreements can also be used to define the terms of any additional spousal support beyond the court's requirements. This could include extra payments or non-monetary forms of compensation or assistance, such as access to health insurance coverage or other benefits.
However, it is important to note that spouses must be mindful of applicable state laws and regulations when negotiating these matters. Additionally, should a prenuptial agreement unfairly disadvantage one party over the other, the courts may not recognize it as valid. A qualified attorney should be consulted to ensure that all parties involved are fully informed about their rights and obligations under the law prior to signing an agreement.
Should You Consider Taking a Lump Sum Spousal Support Payment?
A lump sum spousal support payment may be a desirable option for some divorcing couples, as it eliminates the need to make regular payments and can help them fully end their relationship without further ties to each other. However, there are several considerations that couples should take into account before they make this decision.
The primary benefit of a lump sum payment is the assurance that the obligation has been met and is no longer looming over the person responsible for paying. However, the parting receiving the support should be aware that this also means they will not receive continued financial support in case of future changes in circumstances. It is also important to consider the tax implications of such a payment, as lump sums may be subject to larger tax consequences than monthly payments would have been.
Ultimately, whether or not a lump sum spousal support payment is the right choice depends on each couple's individual circumstances and needs. Additionally, regardless of how you approach spousal support negotiations, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced divorce attorney, like ours, at The Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C.