Maintenance, or spousal support, formerly referred to as alimony, is designed to level the financial playing field to allow the lower income party to finish his/her education, get additional training, find employment or a better job and move on with life as a single person. It is often a contentious part of any separation agreement. The state of Colorado has created a “guidelines formula” to determine the amount, if any, and the length of time maintenance should be paid. The Court has a great deal of leeway in making that decision.
In mediation, the parties get to decide the maintenance questions. With the help of the mediator, the parties review the differential in income, the needs of one party that don’t preclude the ability of the other party, the unbalanced division of assets and debts that can be created to provide for the lower income party in lieu of maintenance, and the reluctance of a party to pay – or to receive – maintenance. As long as both parties are aware of and understand their individual rights, they can choose how they want to address the issue of maintenance.