Money, money, money. For most people in the world, money is something to protect and the desire is strong to have more than enough of it. The discussion of money is nearly always a big deal during marriage, and during dissolution of the marriage.
Any marriage over 36 months in length in the state of Colorado requires a document called a Spousal Maintenance Guideline to be completed and acknowledged by both parties. The antiquated term for this type of document is alimony. The thing I want to make sure you hear is this: the document is a guideline and is not a definite sentence of what must be done in every case. The document is meant to be a starting point for both parties to talk about Maintenance.
In many families with children, one of the parents likely made a sacrifice in their income earning to be more available to the family. Unfortunately, the marriage did not work out. To the spouse that would pay Spousal Maintenance I am sure it feels like punishment. It is not meant to be punishing. Maintenance is meant for the lesser wage earner to get back on his/her feet as soon as humanly possible. The statute calls it rehabilitation.
The basic calculation for spousal maintenance is this: whatever the length of marriage over 36 months is divided into half and that is the amount of time the maintenance should be (paid). The maximum maintenance guideline term would be 10 years from a 20 year marriage. Again, this is not required to be followed exactly as calculated in every case, it is negotiable between the parties and can be variations in duration and monthly amount. Some people choose to structure maintenance to reduce gradually year after year until there is not a need for the receiving spouse to receive the Maintenance. Other parties may agree to an offset in the Maintenance somewhere in the assets including 401K, pension, home equity or many other options.
Regarding taxes, there is a “credit” issued for the payer with Spousal Maintenance. The payer shall reduce his or her adjusted gross income, potentially reducing his/her tax liability. The recipient is required to pay taxes on the income of Spousal Maintenance.
Regardless of any agreement is reached, if the recipient passes on or remarries, the Spousal Maintenance is terminated.
Your case does not have to go to a judge, which in many cases leaves you both with no power in the process and both being disappointed with the outcome. At SBMediationLLC we use the same state Spousal Maintenance calculator that judges, magistrates and attorneys use. There are many ways to come up with the Maintenance and Child Support calculation by inputting different scenarios into the calculator. If you are both willing to take an active role in your dissolution your chances of leaving the marriage in an acceptable place for both of you increases 100 fold.
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