Is Colorado a Non-Alimony State?

Is Colorado a Non-Alimony StateColorado is not a non-alimony state – it supports alimony, which it refers to as maintenance. Colorado courts have the power to award alimony or spousal maintenance in certain divorce situations. The amount and duration of alimony payments differ based on various aspects such as the duration of the marriage, the parties’ relative earning capacities, and their standard of living throughout the marriage.

What are the Types of Spousal Support Available in Colorado?

Colorado recognizes two categories of spousal support: temporary and permanent.

Temporary Spousal Support

While divorce proceedings are ongoing, the court has the authority to grant temporary spousal support to assist the spouse with lower income in sustaining their existing lifestyle. This form of support remains effective until the divorce is officially concluded. However, following the finalization of the divorce, the court may determine the need for further temporary support for a specific period or may even order permanent spousal support.

Permanent Spousal Support

Permanent spousal support refers to a regular payment made by one spouse to the other after a decree of dissolution of marriage is entered. Maintenance can be for a defined term or an undefined term. 

What Factors Determine Spousal Support in Colorado?

In Colorado, the court takes into account several variables to determine the duration and amount of spousal support payments. These factors include:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Maritally established lifestyle
  • Each spouse’s income potential
  • Each spouse’s age and health
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
  • Spousal support agreements, if any (such as a prenup)
  • Financial resources and self-sufficiency potential of the support-seeking spouse.

Additionally, various other circumstances may influence whether or not spousal support is required and the specific amount that needs to be paid.

Spousal Support Requirements in Colorado

Spousal support is not automatically guaranteed in all divorce cases in Colorado. The state considers several factors to assess whether spousal support should be granted. Below are important prerequisites you should be aware of:

Financial Difference

A significant financial disparity between the two spouses can establish the need for alimony. The spouses may have vastly different incomes, earning capabilities, or other financial resources.

Length of the Marriage

The duration of the marriage plays a pivotal role in determining eligibility for alimony. Longer marriages have a higher chance of being awarded alimony, as financial interdependence between spouses tends to be more prominent.

Marital Contributions

The court acknowledges both the financial and non-financial contributions made by each spouse during the marriage. These contributions may include responsibilities such as maintaining the household, raising children, and supporting the career of the other spouse.

Capacity for Self-Support

The court examines whether the spouse requesting alimony has the necessary means to achieve self-sufficiency through employment, education, or training. If the spouse needs additional time to acquire the essential skills for financial independence, it may influence the decision regarding alimony.

Age and Health

For instance, if one spouse encounters health challenges that hinder their ability to work and sustain themselves, the likelihood of receiving alimony may increase.

Marital Wrongdoing

Marital misconduct, such as infidelity, does not play a role in determining alimony decisions in Colorado. However, if the misconduct has affected the financial state of the marriage – such as if a cheating spouse emptied the marital bank account – the judge will include this consideration.


Spouses can personally create their alimony agreements without involving the court. When both parties reach a mutual understanding of the terms of alimony, the court typically honors and upholds the agreement.

Modifying Alimony in Colorado

Circumstances can change even after a divorce is finalized. If you wish to change the terms of your alimony, the first step is determining whether your maintenance is statutory or contractual.

Statutory maintenance is awarded by the court through a permanent order while contractual maintenance is one that’s agreed upon by both spouses if they do their own paperwork. Statutory alimony is modifiable while contractual alimony is non-modifiable, if the spouses specifically agree that it is “contractual and non-modifiable” as it is built on a contract that both parties willingly entered.

In Colorado, modifying alimony requires demonstrating a significant change in circumstances that make the prior award unfair, such as job loss, health problems, or substantial income fluctuations. It is advisable to seek the guidance of an alimony attorney to navigate this process seamlessly.

How Not to Pay Alimony in Colorado: A Legal Guide

In certain cases, there is no way to completely avoid paying spousal support. Nevertheless, certain strategies outlined below can help convince the court not to grant a support decree or to reduce the amount of payment:

Private negotiation

Engaging in a private discussion with your spouse may lead to a mutually agreeable arrangement for spousal support. Document it in writing to increase the likelihood of the court recognizing and upholding the agreement. This holds particularly true when the agreement demonstrates fairness and reasonability and takes into account the income and capabilities of both partners.

Getting a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage

An established prenuptial agreement ensures the legal validity and enforcement of its terms in the event of a divorce. However, with maintenance provisions in a prenuptial agreement, the court retains jurisdiction to hear a maintenance claim in the future and could overturn the maintenance agreement in your prenuptial agreement.

Proving your ex-spouse’s cohabitation with someone else

If your ex-husband or ex-wife is living with a different person, it may be argued that they no longer require spousal support as their new partner is providing for them. A similar rationale applies in situations where your spouse has obtained an employment opportunity yielding a sufficient income for their livelihood.

Shorter-term marriage advantages

A relatively brief marriage has a lower likelihood of being awarded permanent or long-term spousal support through a court order. Colorado’s alimony guidelines recommend that courts may grant spousal maintenance if the marriage lasted at least three years. This, however, is only a guideline and not a set rule. A judge may still determine that alimony is necessary if certain factors call for it.

Getting a proficient family law attorney

If you find yourself embroiled in a dispute concerning spousal support, it is strongly recommended to enlist a skilled family law attorney. They have the necessary knowledge and experience to guide you through the court system with tact, ensuring that spousal maintenance is not compelled or that the mandated amount remains reasonable and fair, without any signs of greed.

Contact a Denver Family Law Attorney Now

Navigating Colorado’s spousal maintenance law can be intricate. It is imperative to have a skilled family law attorney who has a deep understanding of the complexities involved. Begin your initial case evaluation by calling Goldman Law, LLC at (303) 656-9529 today.