Permanent Maintenance

The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Denver’s award-winning family law trial advocates.  We’re experts in PERMANENT MAINTENANCE cases in Denver and other cities throughout Colorado.   Call us today to talk personally with a lawyer about with your Denver PERMANENT MAINTENANCE issues.  (303) 502-9600.


General Considerations

Colorado spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, may be granted as part of a divorce (dissolution of marriage) or legal separation. Colorado maintenance may also be modified in a subsequent action, unless the parties previously agree that maintenance is non-modifiable.

Maintenance is not automatic in Colorado.  If the party seeking maintenance does not expressly request maintenance prior to entry of permanent orders, any right to maintenance is waived.  Similarly, if a party voluntarily and knowingly waives the right to receive maintenance in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement or in a separation agreement, he or she is permanently barred from receiving maintenance in Colorado.

Permanent Maintenance

In Colorado, the term “permanent” maintenance refers to the terms of maintenance ordered in the final decree of divorce or legal separation. “Permanent” maintenance is usually not permanent at all but may continue for many years.   Moreover, unless the parties agree that maintenance cannot be modified, the amount is always subject to modification upon a showing of a substantial and continuing change in circumstances.

In Colorado, maintenance terminates automatically upon the death of either party or remarriage of the party receiving maintenance. Occasionally, the party paying maintenance will seek to prove that his or her former spouse is married to a new partner under common law.  That’s a tough proof, though.  Call the Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers if you think you have a case.  303-502-9600.

Threshold Question

Before ordering ANY permanent maintenance, the court must find that the party seeking maintenance (usually the wife, thus, the female pronouns that follow) lacks sufficient property to provide for her “reasonable needs” and is either unable to support herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that she not be required to seek employment outside the home.  Without such a finding, there will be NO maintenance awarded.

The court will consider other relevant factors including the financial resources of the wife, her ability to meet her needs independently, whether she receives child support, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable her to find appropriate employment, and her future earning capacity. Other important considerations include the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and the age and physical and emotional condition of the wife. Finally, the court will consider the ability of the husband to meet his own needs while meeting those of the wife.

Those are a lot of factors.   Call the Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers to get a better sense of whether Colorado maintenance may be in your future, whether you’re paying it or receiving it. 303-502-9600.

Factors Favoring Maintenance in Colorado Cases

In Colorado, the following factors tend to increase the likelihood a court will award permanent maintenance.

  • Long-Term Marriage: the longer the marriage, the stronger the recipient’s claim for maintenance.
  • High Standard of Living: permanent maintenance is more likely where the recipient spouse’s income is inadequate to provide him or her with the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
  • Disparity of Income: the greater the disparity in income, the greater the likelihood that maintenance will be ordered.
  • Actual and Potential Earnings of the Parties: the actual and potential future earnings of each spouse are important factors for analysis, even if somewhat speculative.  Also, if one spouse is intentionally under-employed, the court may impute a higher income level to him or her.
  • Assets of the Parties: the assets and financial resources of the parties, including all marital assets and separate property owned by each party, help determine whether maintenance is justified and in what amount.
  • Education: a college degree obtained by one spouse during the marriage is not “marital property.” However, the other spouse, who supported the family and deferred his or her own education while the first spouse obtained a college degree, may have an equitable claim for maintenance.
  • Expectations: the parties’ expectations and/or agreements, even verbal agreements, about who would contribute what financially to the marriage are almost always relevant to considerations of maintenance.
  • Unemployment of the Recipient spouse: if the recipient spouse is unemployed or only marginally employed through no fault of her own, the likelihood of a maintenance order increases.
  • Psychological and Physical Health of the Recipient Spouse: a party with proven physical or psychological health conditions, especially those that may interfere with his or her ability to work, may be more likely to receive a maintenance award.

Rehabilitative Maintenance

Rehabilitative maintenance is technically a form of “permanent” maintenance that continues for a limited time beyond the date of the decree of divorce or legal separation.  Rehabilitative maintenance in Colorado is designed to supplement the income of the receiving spouse while he or she obtains employment-related education or retraining in order to become financially independent.

The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Colorado PERMANENT MAINTENANCE experts.  Call us now to discuss your legal options and rights concerning PERMANENT MAINTENANCE in Denver, Colorado and surrounding cities (303) 502-9600.


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