As of January 2014, Colorado has a new law providing guidelines to judges in awarding maintenance (often know in other states as alimony).
This law provides guidance to judges in awarding maintenance from a higher earning spouse to a lower earning spouse lasting from a third to half the length of the marriage. The basic formula loosely provides for taking 40% of the higher earning spouse and subtracting 50% of the lower earning spouse, which results in the basic monthly maintenance awarded. While many people feel this will simplify maintenance cases, substantial questions remain. Most importantly—what is the potential earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance? These decisions are made based on potential income as well as actual income.
Like most areas of divorce law, this statute provides judges with a broad guideline but leaves each judge the freedom and discretion to make different decisions based upon unique circumstances. However, a lower earning spouse will often receive maintenance from the higher earning spouse in a marriage of several years or more.