The stress of divorce, especially when it creates a large economic disparity between the parties, can be considerable. A stay-at-home parent with few marketable job skills, for instance, would be in a less favorable economic position than a spouse who was the sole earner in the family. Alimony -- or as it is known in Colorado, "spousal maintenance" -- can help to balance out the financial imbalances that occur as a result of divorce.
Spousal maintenance is a payment or a set of incremental payments that one party in a divorce makes to the other. A court can issue an order for spousal maintenance before a divorce has been finalized, as such assistance can be particularly warranted during the period when the parties are transitioning into their own households and negotiating a division of the property. If the court feels the particular circumstances warrant ongoing maintenance, it may be ordered when the divorce is final, as well.
After the parties and their attorneys offer input, a judge will decide what is appropriate. In doing so, the court will consider several factors to determine whether spousal maintenance is warranted and if so, whether it will be temporary or ongoing, and how much will be paid. Such factors include each party's income, how much property each received, financial need, and the length of the marriage.
An order for maintenance can be revisited if the parties' financial circumstances are changed. This can be done requesting a modification. Clearly, navigating the waters of divorce and spousal maintenance requires considerable nuance and experience. Therefore, it is best done with the advice and assistance of a seasoned family law attorney.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14 Domestic Matters § 14-10-114. Spousal maintenance-guidelines-legislative declaration-definitions," accessed on Jan. 17, 2018