What is Colorado’s Maintenance Formula?
The Colorado alimony calculator applies the advisory maintenance formula found in Colorado’s maintenance statute (C.R.S. 14-10-114). The statute provides judges in a divorce or legal separation proceeding with an advisory-only calculation to consider under the following conditions:
- The spouse’s combined incomes is not greater than $240,000/yr ($20,000/mo), and
- The marriage was at least 36 months in duration.
The Colorado Spousal Maintenance Calculator
Graham.Law‘s Colorado alimony calculator will determine Colorado’s advisory amount and duration of maintenance per the statute, but be careful if your situation falls outside of the thresholds. To understand the role of the spousal support formula in a divorce, please read the caveats below the calculator, and for background information, our articles on how Colorado courts determine maintenance and how income is determined.
Colorado Alimony Calculator Caveats
- Advisory, Not Binding. A court may not blindly apply the advisory maintenance guidelines without considering evidence of the statutory factors (see our blog post Colorado Maintenance Guidelines Require Evidence for discussion of a case where the trial court was reversed for doing just that).
- Incomes Over $20,000/mo. The maintenance calculator extrapolates the advisory amount for combined incomes over $20,000/mo. This is for informational purposes only, and is perhaps a starting point for negotiations. But per C.R.S. 14-10-114(3.5) there is no advisory formula for combined incomes above the $240K/yr threshold, and it is error for a court to apply the guidelines when the spouses’ combined incomes exceed that amount.
- Marriage over 20 yrs. The calculator will extrapolate for a marriage duration of greater than 20 years by providing an advisory duration of one-half the months of marriage. This too is for informational purposes only. For marriages longer than 20 years, the advisory duration is a minimum of 10 years, but there is no maximum. C.R.S. 14-10-114(3.5). Moreover, for longer marriages, a court may consider indefinite maintenance which has no expiration date (sometimes known, inaccurately, as “lifetime alimony”).
- Non-Joint Children. Our Colorado Alimony Calculator is not intended for situations where a spouse has other (non-joint) children living with him/her. In such cases, you should set up an account and use the court-approved Family Law Software application.
Using Formula Alimony Calculations in Colorado
Unlike child support, Colorado’s spousal support formula is not presumptive – it is merely an advisory amount for the court to consider when determining an appropriate amount of alimony. For a complete discussion of spousal support and the role of the advisory formula, see our Spousal Maintenance article in the Colorado Family Law Guide.
In reality, in situations where the formula applies, at time time of divorce or legal separation most judges in El Paso County seem to follow Colorado’s maintenance guidelines fairly closely. While I have on occasion seen judges go below the advisory numbers, I do not recall seeing a a judge exceed either the advisory amount or duration. But while the formula is a good estimate of where maintenance should end up, the Colorado alimony calculation is still only an estimate – there are no assurances.
FAQ – Colorado Alimony Calculation
How is alimony determined in Colorado?
The Colorado alimony formula determines advisory spousal support by multiplying the parties’ combined incomes by 40%, then deducting the lower-earning spouse’s income. If the maintenance is tax-free, that figure is then reduced by 20% (combined incomes below $10,000/mo), or 25% (combined incomes between $10,000 and $20,000/mo).
This formula is just one of the statutory factors the court must consider, and does not apply to combined incomes over $20,000/mo.
Is maintenance taxable?
Maintenance is tax-free for decrees entered on 1/1/2019 or later, and is taxable for decrees entered on 12/31/2018 and earlier. Colorado’s alimony calculation reduces tax-free maintenance to compensate for this disparity in tax treatment.
How long does alimony last in Colorado?
Colorado’s maintenance statute provides an advisory maintenance duration of 11 months at 36 months of marriage, increasing to half the length of the marriage after 12.5 years of marriage. With long-term marriages, courts may consider lifetime maintenance.
How long do you have to be married to get alimony in Colorado?
Colorado’s advisory maintenance guidelines start at 36 months of marriage, however in unusual situations a court may consider maintenance for shorter marriages, particularly if a spouse is staying at home to care for a young child.
Does alimony change if income changes?
There is no automatic adjustment, but as long as the spouses did not agree to non-modifiable maintenance, either spouse may seek to modify alimony if there is a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances.”
How is alimony with military pay calculated in Colorado?
In Colorado, all military pay and allowances count towards income, even though some of the allowances such as BAH & BAS are tax-free. Moreover, if a military member receives free housing in lieu of BAH, the value of that free housing is added to the member’s income.
Does VA disability count as income in a Colorado alimony calculation?
Yes, though disability payments from the Veterans Administration are not divisible property, nor are they taxable, they do count as a source of income for purposes of calculating maintenance in Colorado.
Comments on the Alimony Calculator?
I hope you found Graham.Law‘s all-new Colorado alimony calculator useful. We have tested this maintenance calculator with numerous different scenarios, and it has been accurate in all of them so far. But the calculator is new, and something we will continually improve, so if you have any suggestions for improvement, or discovered a calculation error, please let us know by filling out the contact form in the side panel.