As any Colorado divorce attorney will tell you, the end of a marriage doesn’t happen in an instant. A couple may see the writing on the wall for months or even years before one of the parties files for divorce. After that, the divorce process can take months and even years to play out.
During the divorce process, while spouses are living separately and fighting over or negotiating the terms of their divorce, each of them needs to pay bills, put food on the table, and provide for their children. Both spouses have lawyers to pay as well.
But one spouse may not have the money and resources to do so while they sort everything out during the divorce process. Fortunately, in the right circumstances, Colorado law provides for temporary financial support while filing for a divorce.
What Is Temporary Financial Support During a Colorado Divorce?
“The economic lives of spouses are frequently closely intertwined in marriage and… it is often impossible to later segregate the respective decisions and contributions of the spouses. Consequently, awarding spousal maintenance may be appropriate if a spouse needs support and the other spouse has the ability to pay support.”
That is how the Colorado legislature explained the reasons behind spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony.
As any divorce attorney will tell you, is no automatic right to spousal maintenance in Colorado. However, the Front Range courts often provide for financial support during and after the divorce if not doing so would leave one spouse at an economic disadvantage.
When ordered by the Colorado Springs courts, the spouse who is on sound financial footing must pay the other spouse specific amounts every month for a designated period.
A spouse who needs financial support while going through the divorce process can ask the court for temporary spousal maintenance. This is an award that will remain in effect until modified by a judge or until the entry of a final divorce decree that provides for support.
When Will a Judge Provide for Temporary Financial Support?
Upon the request of either spouse and their divorce attorney, a judge will consider providing temporary financial support for the duration of the divorce proceedings or a shorter period.
In deciding whether to award temporary spousal maintenance and how much to award each month, a Colorado Springs area judge will look at several factors as listed in C.R.S. § 14-10-114(3)(b)(2):
The financial resources of the spouse seeking support, including any award of marital property or child support and their ability to meet their needs independently;
The financial resources of the spouse who would pay maintenance including his or her ability to meet their reasonable needs while paying support;
The future earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance, including any time needed for education and training;
The lifestyle during the marriage;
Any necessary reduction in employment due to a child’s needs or circumstances of the parties;
The duration of the marriage;
The age and health of the parties in the divorce;
Significant economic or noneconomic contribution to the marriage or to a spouse’s economic, educational, or occupational advancement, including completing education or job training, payment by one spouse of the other's debts, or enhancement of the value of the other spouse’s property;
Any additional factors that are specific to the determination of temporary maintenance, including the payment of family expenses and debts.
Temporary Child Support
For a divorcing parent who faces serious financial challenges during a divorce proceeding, the court can similarly award child support on a temporary basis. When awarding temporary child support, the Colorado Springs courts will look at many of the same factors used to calculate a permanent award of child support.
How Will a Temporary Order Effect the Final Outcome?
Colorado law specifically provides that “a determination of temporary maintenance does not prejudice the rights of either party at permanent orders.” In theory, this means that any temporary maintenance order should not have any effect on what the final divorce decree provides in terms of spousal support.
In practice, however, an argument for continuing spousal maintenance after the divorce proceedings will likely be stronger if a judge has already looked at the issue and decided that the circumstances justified temporary support.
Your Colorado Divorce Attorney Can Help You Get Temporary Financial Support
If you are going through a divorce in Colorado Springs, temporary financial help is available, but getting it is not a given. The right divorce attorney can make all the difference in obtaining the financial support you need during a difficult time.
Bryson Perkins is an experienced spousal maintenance lawyer in Colorado Springs, contact his office to schedule a free consultation.