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Maintenance Guidelines

In January of 2015 maintenance (alimony) guidelines were adopted by the Colorado legislature. Unlike the child support guidelines which must be followed in nearly all cases, the maintenance guidelines do not create a presumption, and are only advisory in nature. However, since these guidelines went into effect, my experience suggests that about 85-90% of maintenance cases are resolved through the use of the guidelines. Thus, the guidelines are very useful in predicting both the amount and duration of what a court might do if your situation involves maintenance to be paid from the higher income party to the lower income party. The formula is: 40% of the higher income minus 50% of the lower income with a cap of 40% of the total income.

  • Spouse A earns $ per year ($10,000 per month)
  • Spouse B earns $ per year ($5,000 per month)
  • $10,000 X .4 (40%)= $4,000 less one half of the lower income, $2,500
  • For a maintenance payment of $1,500 per month

    BUT WAIT the cap is 40% of the total income which is figured as follows:

    $10,000 + $5,000 = $15,000 X .4 = $6,000 less the lower income of $5,000 for a maintenance obligation of $1,000 per month ($5,000 + $1,000 = $6,000 or 40 % of the total).

    NOTE: The guidelines for maintenance as do the child support guidelines use monthly gross income.

    The duration of maintenance per the guidelines is set forth in a table found at C.R.S. 14-10-114.

    Generally, for marriages of 150 months or more, maintenance is for one-half the length of the marriage. This percentage gradually decrease as the number of marriage months decreases.

    Competent and experienced family law attorneys and family mediators who are attorneys are able to assist clients in asserting factors which suggest that following the guidelines would/would not be fair and reasonable.