The Impact of Colorado’s Spousal Maintenance Reform on Spousal Support

Colorado has been at the forefront of reforming its spousal maintenance laws, aiming to create a more equitable system that reflects the changing dynamics of modern relationships. Recent changes in Colorado’s spousal support laws have far-reaching implications for both paying and receiving spouses.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key elements of the reform and its impact on spousal support.

The Evolution of Spousal Maintenance in Colorado

Colorado’s spousal maintenance laws have undergone significant changes in recent years, reflecting the evolving societal norms and financial dynamics of modern marriages.

Historically, spousal maintenance was often granted for life, leading to potentially inequitable outcomes. The primary aim of the reforms has been to create a fairer and more balanced system, which takes into account the contributions and needs of both spouses.

Recent Changes in Colorado’s Spousal Maintenance Laws

The Colorado spousal maintenance Reform Act (CARA), which was enacted in 2014, brought substantial changes to spousal support laws in the state. Key provisions of the act include:

CARA introduced guidelines for the calculation of spousal maintenance duration and amount, giving judges a clearer framework for making decisions. It also established specific formulas based on income and duration of the marriage. This standardization helps promote consistency in spousal maintenance awards.

While income and marriage duration play a significant role in spousal maintenance determinations, the law considers other factors, such as each spouse’s financial resources, lifestyle, and non-economic contributions to the marriage. This holistic approach aims to ensure that both parties are considered fairly.

CARA allows for the modification or termination of spousal maintenance if the receiving spouse cohabitates with a new partner in a “marriage-like” relationship. This provision is meant to prevent situations where the receiving spouse continues to receive support while sharing living expenses with a new partner.

Impact on Paying Spouses

The introduction of guidelines and formulas for spousal maintenance calculations provides paying spouses with a sense of predictability. They can more accurately anticipate the duration and amount of their alimony obligations, helping them plan their financial futures.

The consideration of various factors in spousal maintenance determinations, including non-economic contributions, aims to create a more equitable system. Paying spouses may find that their financial responsibility is more in line with their ex-spouse’s needs and contributions to the marriage.

The provision that allows for the modification or termination of spousal maintenance if the receiving spouse cohabitates can offer relief to paying spouses when their ex-partner forms a new relationship. This prevents situations where spousal maintenance continues despite a significant change in the recipient’s financial situation.

Impact on Receiving Spouses

Receiving spouse’s benefit from the increased predictability of spousal maintenance awards as well. They can have a clearer understanding of their financial support and plan their post-divorce life more effectively.

The consideration of various factors in spousal maintenance determinations also works in favor of receiving spouses. It ensures that their needs are accurately assessed, taking into account both economic and non-economic contributions during the marriage.

While the cohabitation provisions can result in the modification or termination of spousal maintenance for receiving spouses, they also protect their financial interests. These provisions prevent former spouses from unfairly benefiting from new relationships while continuing to receive support.

Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney


The recent reforms in Colorado’s spousal support laws have aimed to modernize the system, making it fairer and more predictable for both paying and receiving spouses. By introducing guidelines, considering various factors, and accounting for changes in circumstances, these reforms have fostered a more balanced approach to spousal maintenance .

This ensures that the financial aspects of a divorce are aligned with the individual contributions and needs of each spouse. As with any legal reform, it’s essential for divorcing couples to consult with legal professionals to fully understand the implications and navigate the complexities of the new laws. Ultimately, Colorado’s spousal maintenance reform strives to create a more equitable and just system for all parties involved in a divorce.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.