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Permanent vs. Temporary ...


Spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, is a form of financial assistance that one spouse may be required to pay to the other during or after a divorce. Spousal maintenance aims to ensure that both spouses can maintain a reasonable standard of living after the marriage ends. Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 14-10-114, spousal maintenance may be awarded when one spouse needs financial support and the other can pay.

Colorado has two types of spousal maintenance: temporary and permanent. The court may award temporary maintenance while the divorce is pending to help the financially dependent spouse cover their living expenses during this time. On the other hand, the court may award permanent maintenance after the divorce is finalized to provide ongoing financial support to the financially dependent spouse.

Understanding the types of spousal maintenance is crucial for both divorcing parties. It ensures that the maintenance amounts and durations are fair and equitable based on the case’s circumstances. Individuals can better advocate for their rights and interests during divorce proceedings by recognizing the differences between temporary and permanent maintenance.

Two Types of Spousal Maintenance

Regarding spousal maintenance, the law recognizes two primary types: temporary and permanent. Each type serves a specific function and is designed to address different stages and needs that may arise during the divorce process.

Permanent Maintenance

When the divorce is finalized, permanent (or long-term) spousal maintenance becomes crucial to post-divorce financial arrangements. Let's look at what permanent spousal support entails and the criteria considered in determining its award.

Permanent maintenance refers to the ongoing financial support provided to the spouse with demonstrated financial need after the divorce is officially concluded. Unlike temporary maintenance, which acts as a shirt-term bridge, permanent maintenance recognizes the long-term financial challenges one spouse may face in achieving self-sufficiency.

Various factors come into play when determining whether permanent maintenance should be awarded. These include:

  • Each party’s gross income
  • Each party’s financial resources
  • Demonstrated reasonable financial need
  • Tax implications of maintenance awards

The court weighs various factors to establish the appropriate amount and duration of permanent maintenance.

Some of the considerations include:

  • Statutory guideline terms and amount
  • Financial resources
  • Ability to meet financial needs
  • Marriage duration
  • Temporary maintenance term and amount
  • Economic contributions to the marriage or the other spouse’s educational or occupational advancement

Permanent maintenance is typically awarded when the receiving spouse struggles to meet their financial needs independently and maintain a lifestyle comparable to that during the marriage. It may also be considered when the receiving spouse lacks sufficient property to support themselves through appropriate employment or when they have custody of a child whose circumstances make it inappropriate for them to seek immediate employment.

Temporary Maintenance

Temporary maintenance refers to the monthly financial support the court can award during divorce proceedings. It recognizes the immediate need for financial assistance that may arise when one spouse faces economic challenges while the divorce is being finalized.

Similar to long-term maintenance, temporary maintenance is awarded based on specific circumstances. The receiving spouse must demonstrate a need for financial support and an inability to reasonably provide for themselves during the divorce process. These factors help ensure that both parties can maintain a reasonable standard of living while navigating the complexities of the legal proceedings.

When determining the amount of temporary maintenance, the court considers similar factors as those for permanent maintenance. However, the relevance of these factors may differ in the context of temporary orders.

Unlike long-term maintenance, where guidelines often determine the term, the court determines temporary maintenance's duration.

Once the court determines the appropriate amount of temporary maintenance (as well as temporary child support, if applicable), it proceeds to consider temporary payments of debts and the allocation of marital property.

Temporary maintenance is particularly appropriate when the receiving spouse cannot support themselves financially while the divorce is pending. It acknowledges the potential economic disparity that can arise during the divorce process and aims to bridge the financial gap, ensuring that both spouses have the means to meet their immediate needs.

Seeking professional legal guidance from experienced family law attorneys can provide invaluable support in understanding the nuances of temporary and permanent maintenance and ensuring that your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process.

At Solutions Based Family Law in Centennial, CO, we can help you navigate the complexities of alimony and seek fair and equitable support.

Contact us at (720) 463-2232 today to schedule a consultation.