Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Incremental Decreases of Spousal Maintenance | Episode 187

January 22, 2024 Caitlin Geary Season 1 Episode 187
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Incremental Decreases of Spousal Maintenance | Episode 187
Show Notes Transcript

Ryan explains the influence of various factors in determining the amount and duration of spousal support, such as length of marriage, financial status of each party, and job prospects. 

He uses a fictional scenario to elucidate how spousal support is intended to maintain a semblance of the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage, and how it might decrease over time as the recipient's earning potential increases. Ryan also touches upon the legal considerations involved and suggests a potential modification approach for spousal support decrements.

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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. How to episode on incremental decreases of spousal maintenance after a divorce. Now we need to remind ourselves about two primary concepts that are fundamental to spousal maintenance in a divorce. The first is the amount. The second is duration. If you want more information, I have how to episodes on each of those concepts. in detail. Now, the concept of incremental decreases really ties in both of those concepts. And we need to remind ourselves about the factors that go into play in calculating the amount of spousal support as well as duration. And that's going to be The length of the marriage, the financial status of each party after the divorce, namely what sort of property they're going to receive. We also get into job prospects, the health and the age of the parties. So if we tie those in. In our hypothetical divorce scenario with Eric and Melanie Wolfe, if Melanie is 40 years old and she's been at home for taking care of the children for the last decade, say there, she's going to be imputed income or her needs are going to be taken into consideration with her future. Having some sort of obligation to work and we'll get into the concept of underemployment and imputed income in a separate issue or episode, but really what you need to understand is that Melanie has an obligation. To work unless there's some sort of exception and what we're going to do is think about is Melanie going to go back to school and, earn some sort of certification that's going to result in her being able to earn. Income later on, is she going to go back to work at an entry level position and work her way up? And the concept of spousal support is to allow her to have a, reasonably a similar lifestyle as she enjoyed during the marriage. And if she earns income. Through experience or education over time, her income should increase. So it is not uncommon in a divorce settlement agreement to have decreases over time. So if Eric and Melanie were married, they got married, fairly early in, in college, say they went to CU Boulder and got married and then they moved to Denver and 20 years later, they got. Divorced and, she is 45. In that scenario, we're looking at a 10 year maintenance obligation for Eric, and what we could have is that Melanie is going to go back to school for three years, and so we're going to have a higher amount, and then after three years we're going to You know, put in some sort of a bracket or a drop off in her amount. And then that is going to decrease, let's say every two years. And that could be an agreement that both Eric and Melanie reach that takes into consideration that her needs and her lifestyle are going to need to be in essence subsidized by Eric after the divorce more. At the very, very beginning of the post decree era compared to, fairly late in, in the game after the divorce. Now the court, if you Eric and Melanie go to trial the court can have some sort of incremental decrease, but it really is fairly uncommon because the court has to make detailed exceptions or findings. To the guidelines and really the kind of release valve or the court is going to assume that there can be this modification. So if Eric believes that Melanie can earn, a higher income five years, he can file. Some sort of modification and indeed will explain modification. The concepts are interrelated as with duration and income or the amount that I referenced at the beginning, but the key thing takeaway is that this is an agreement that Eric and Melanie often can reach in a divorce agreement that takes into consideration the. amount of income that Melanie can earn after the divorce and both parties can have some predictability. So again, we're getting into the contractual versus modifiable maintenance and some of those issues. So if you haven't listened to, those episodes that I referenced, go check those out, but for now that should give you a high level understanding of incremental decreases of spousal maintenance. After a divorce. 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.