The term maintenance is synonymous with the word alimony. The application of both words is the same. To be eligible for maintenance under Colorado law, the party seeking maintenance must demonstrate to the Court that he or she: (1) lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him or her, to provide for his or her reasonable needs, and (2) must also demonstrate that he or she is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the child's custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.

 

Determining the amount of maintenance which the court would deem fair, without regard to marital misconduct, the court is required to consider the following factors: (1) the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to such party, and the party's ability to meet his or her needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party, (2) the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and that party's future earning capacity, (3) the standard of living established during the marriage, (4) the duration of the marriage, (5) the age, and the physical and emotional condition, of the spouse seeking maintenance, and (6) the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is being sought to meet his or her needs, while meeting those of the party seeking maintenance.

Court-ordered maintenance may be modified only as to installments arising after a Motion for Modification has been filed and then only upon a showing of a change of circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the existing terms unfair.

Child Support and Modification of Child Support
Court-Ordered Payment

There are tables included in the statutes (laws) associated with a divorce (dissolution of marriage). The tables begin with a vertical column showing combined gross income for both spouses of $100.00 per month and extends to a combined gross income of $20,000 per month. Horizontally, the tables show columns from one to six or more children. Illustratively, where the parties to be divorced have combined incomes of $20,000 per month and have two children, the child support to be allocated between the two of them is $2,685 per month. Generally, basic child support obligations are divided between the parents and proportioned as to their adjusted gross incomes with certain credits being accorded to a parent who pays for particular legally designated child expenses, which may include orthodontics, day care, etc.

Adjusted gross income is a very broadly defined term and includes income from salaries, wages (including tips), commissions, payments received as an independent contractor, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions and retirement benefits, royalties, rents, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker's compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, monetary gifts and prizes, taxable distributions, expense reimbursements, alimony or maintenance received, and overtime pay (if the overtime is required by the employer as a condition of employment). Not included in adjusted gross income are preexisting child support obligations, as well as alimony or maintenance actually paid by a party.

In any action to modify child support, the tables mentioned are used as a rebuttable presumption for establishment or modification of the amount of child support. The courts may deviate from the tables where its application would be inequitable, unjust, or inappropriate. This almost never happens.

There is no requirement under Colorado law for any parent to pay for post-secondary education of their children. Further, the child support tables do not take into consideration tuition, fees, books, or room and board associated with attendance at college. Child support obligations generally end when the child reaches age 19, if the child is not mentally or physically disabled. The court has the right to order continuing child support payments beyond age 19 if the child is still in high school, or an equivalent program, which support obligation would stay in place until the end of the month following graduation. If the child marries before age 19, the child is considered emancipated as of the date of the marriage and no further child support obligations would accrue.

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Child support obligations may be modified only as to installments arising after the filing of a Motion for Modification and only upon a showing of changed circumstances which are substantial and continuing or on the ground the court's support order does not contain a provision requiring medical support, such as insurance coverage, payment for medical insurance deductibles, and co-payments, or unreimbursed medical expenses.

Colorado law provides if the circumstances of the parties at the time of the filing of a Motion for Modification of a child support order is such that it would result in less than a 10% change in the amount of support due per month, such is not deemed to be a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. Therefore, such Motion would be denied. Modification of child support, like modification of maintenance, is effective as of the date of the filing of the Motion unless the court finds it would cause undue hardship or substantial injustice, or unless there has been a mutually agreed upon change of physical custody. In those circumstances, a court order may be retroactively modified to a point prior to the date of filing of a Motion unless there has been a mutually agreed upon change of physical custody of the child.