What factors determine whether you will get spousal support?

Divorce is a financially complex process. If you are facing the prospect of ending your marriage and heading out on your own, you probably have serious concerns about your financial future. If you did not work or you earned significantly less than your spouse, you may wonder if you could be eligible for spousal support.

The intent of spousal support, often called alimony, is to offset the economic inequity often brought about by divorce. It is common for a family court to grant the lesser-earning spouse support payments for a specific length of time, sometimes even permanently. Before you agree to a financial settlement or move forward with any decisions that can impact your life, it is in your interests to seek a full understanding of what factors go into a spousal support determination.

Are you eligible?

Did you set aside your own career to support your spouse? Did you decide to stay home and raise your children? Did you miss out on opportunities for advancement and pay raises because of your family obligations? If so, it is possible that you could have a valid claim to spousal support benefits. Of course, it is common for the other spouse to protest against this claim as he or she will want to limit as many financial obligations as possible after a divorce.

There are times when two Colorado spouses are able to come to an agreement on alimony on their own. You and your spouse may be able to agree on how much you will get and how long the payments will last. You may also agree that a lump sum is better or that retaining certain assets is a fair trade-off in lieu of monthly support. Where an agreement is not possible, a court will look at the following

  • The income of both spouses
  • The age and physical health of both spouses
  • The ability of the lesser-earning spouse to get another job
  • Education the lesser-earning spouse will need to reenter the workforce
  • Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • Other financial obligations of the payment spouse

These factors and others will determine whether you get spousal support, and if you do, how much you may be able to get. You have the right to negotiate this amount or petition the court for a specific amount that you think is fair and representative of your contributions made during marriage.

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