Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Colorado Spousal Maintenance Guidelines | Episode 182

December 18, 2023 Caitlin Geary
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Colorado Spousal Maintenance Guidelines | Episode 182
Show Notes Transcript

How do  judges decide on the amount of maintenance a spouse will receive following a divorce? This episode Ryan delves into Colorado maintenance guidelines, honing in on the role of gross income and its interplay with the formula. He also discusses tax implications and the way the guideline stands side by side with other elements such as lifestyle and reasonable needs established during the marriage. He also sheds light on what exactly goes into determining income.

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Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.

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Ryan Kalamaya:

Welcome to Divorce At Altittude, a podcast on Colorado family law. I'm Ryan Kalamaya. Each week, along with my business partner and co-host, Amy Goscha, or an expert, we discuss a particular topic related to Divorce or co-parenting in Colorado. In addition, we have created a short series of lessons that will take you through the legal process of Divorce and answer your questions from simple to complex. Divorce isn't easy. The end of a marriage, especially when children are involved, brings a great deal of loss and change. We hope these practical tips and insights will help you on your journey to a new. And better life. This is a how to episode on the Colorado maintenance guideline or formula when it comes to the amount of maintenance. Now, this is in contrast to the duration or length, which I've recorded in a separate episode. It's called what is permanent? Now, a couple caveats or things that we need to get out of the way before we get into the formula and how it works. The first thing is that we're really focused on income and specifically gross income when we're talking about the formula and how it works. There are tax implications, we'll discuss that at the very end, but when we're talking about incomes, we're discussing and focused on gross. Income. The second thing I'll also mention is that this is supposed to be one of and an equal factor from the other factors that relate to maintenance that I've covered in other episodes. So theoretically the maintenance guideline is supposed to be as important as for example, the lifestyle or in another example, the reasonable needs. I will say, however, that lawyers, divorce lawyers and judges do tend to discuss the guidelines with some, a little bit more weight than others, but the law is supposed to have equal weight. The final thing I'll mention is that The guideline is supposed to end at 240, 000 per year in combined monthly income. That takes us into the formula and I'll put a little bit more context on that threshold of 240, 000. But let's talk about the guidelines and how the formula works. Now, if you recall, we have our Eric and Melanie. Wolf hypothetical divorce clients and I think it's helpful to discuss some different examples in how the formula works. So first, uh, the what we do is we take the both parties is monthly adjusted gross income. We add it together. So if Eric makes 120, 000 and Melanie makes 48, 000, we add those two together. And then the next is that we come up with the monthly income. So I will tell you. You don't have to do the math in your head, but the 120 plus 148 results in 14, 000 per month in combined gross monthly income. The next step is that we multiply that number by 40% percent, and that results in a number of 5, 600 in Eric and Melanie's hypothetical divorce example. Then the third step is we subtract this lesser earning spouse's monthly adjusted gross income. So Melanie in this circumstance, she made a 4, 000 and we subtract the 5, 600 by her 4, 000 to get to 1, 600. Now, The factor, the formula contemplates that if it's a zero or a negative number, that there's no maintenance payable. That's fairly obvious. And in our circumstance, there's 1, 600. The final step is to determine the tax implications, and it really is going to be based on a sliding. Scale and so if in this circumstance, the parties are at probably a 25 percent tax bracket, and so we multiply it by 75%, which is the 100 percent less the 25 percent taxes, and we get 1, 200. Now, there the sliding scale and all of this gets really complicated but the point is that there's a different tax rate for people that make A combined income of less money compared to more money. And again, that 240, 000, that's an annualized number. Anything above that is the guidelines are not supposed to apply. Now, as a matter of practice, a lot of divorce lawyers will do an extrapolation. So as if the maintenance guidelines. are increased and in other episodes we'll talk about, those various strategies or those situations. We'll also talk about and break down what goes into the income, how is income determined, but for now that's a working definition or hopefully this is a helpful episode on what the maintenance guidelines or formula are and just an example of how they work in practice. Until next time, thanks for joining us at Divorce at Altitude. Thanks for listening or watching this short lesson on the Divorce Ude podcast. If you found this helpful, please leave a review or share with a friend. It does help for others that are going through or thinking about a Divorce in Colorado. If you want to find out more information, Please visit Kalamaya Law or Divorce at Altittude dot com and that's K A L A M A Y A law. Remember, this is educational information, it's not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an attorney about the particulars of your case. We're happy to answer questions. Feel free to give us a call at(970) 315-2365.