Spousal Maintenance Statutory Guideline at Divorce Mediation.
My attendance at this year’s Family Law Conference in Vail was my first but definitely not my last. The wealth of information that was handed out in buckets from the faculty was, in layman’s terms, just amazing. Learning did not stop for two continuous days.
The judge’s panel of spousal maintenance was my favorite part of the conference. When discussing the statutory guidelines from Spousal/Partner Maintenance Advisement Pursuant to C.R.S. §14-10-114, I learned some of the reasoning judges use to determine how to proceed with spousal maintenance.
The partner maintenance advisement is a worksheet that presents a guideline to start discussion on what could be acceptable to both parties for a maintenance agreement. Although this a good starting point, it is generally modified by the participants.
Some of the factors that go into considerations for spousal maintenance can be:
Duration of marriage
If both parties are employed and the income they make
If one party gave up time on a career to care for the family needs, they may have lost some of their “employability” or income earning potential
Issues often come up at the mediation table regarding the third factor listed above. Although some people don’t realize it, there is a certain amount of opportunity cost a stay at home spouse has forfeited to raise a family and run a household. Some of the things that determine the costs of the opportunity are how long they have been out of the workforce, how are the job prospects for the party to get back into the workforce and if there are other options that would be in another similar field monetarily that could help them “catch up” with the market value of their skillset.
In any case, there is a certain amount of fairness that is discussed, and I do my best to make sure one spouse does not cripple the other financially. There are multitudes of ways to split assets that lead to an acquiescent settlement for both parties.