How to Avoid Paying Spousal Support in Colorado: Strategies and Legal Tips

February 20, 2022

How to Avoid Paying Spousal Support in Colorado: Strategies and Legal Tips

In any divorce, one of the biggest concerns for both parties is often spousal support. How much will I have to pay? How much can I receive? These are questions that often plague those getting divorced, as financial uncertainty about one's future can cause significant personal turmoil and agony. Sometimes the fear of being left unsupported financially even causes people to stay in unhappy or unhealthy marriages.

If you know that your marriage is coming to an end and you will likely be the one ordered to pay spousal support, you may be wondering, "how can I avoid paying it?" Unfortunately, in the state of Colorado, there is no easy answer. The court will evaluate several factors when deciding how much income one spouse will have to pay the other, how long they will have to make payments, and whether spousal support should be paid at all. Every scenario is unique, and the best strategies and tips to avoid paying spousal support will vary on a case-by-case basis and will also depend on which phase of the process you're currently in.

What Is Spousal Support?

To understand how to avoid paying spousal support, it is essential to first understand what it is. Spousal support, also called alimony or spousal maintenance in Colorado, is a payment from one spouse to the other to help them maintain their standard of living after a divorce. It is often ordered when one spouse earns significantly more than the other or when one spouse has been out of the workforce for a significant amount of time in order to care for the couple's home and children.

The purpose of spousal support is twofold: to help the lower-earning or unemployed spouse maintain their current lifestyle and to help them become self-sufficient over time. The goal is that, eventually, the lower-earning spouse will no longer need spousal support and will be able to support themselves or have found some situation that meets their needs without the need for further alimony payments.

What Types of Spousal Support Exist in Colorado?

There are two types of spousal support in Colorado: temporary and permanent. The court can order temporary spousal support while the divorce is still pending, and it is meant to help the lower-earning spouse maintain their current standard of living while the divorce is being finalized. Once the divorce is final, the court may order further temporary support for a specified duration or permanent spousal support

Permanent spousal support is just what it sounds like. It is a payment that is made from one spouse to the other permanently, usually, until the lower-earning spouse dies, remarries, or meets other terminating conditions specified by the court. It is typically ordered when one spouse is unable to support themselves financially after a divorce.

How Is Spousal Support Determined in Colorado?

In Colorado, the court will consider several factors when deciding the duration and amount of spousal support payments. Some of these factors include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including homemaking and childcare
  • Any agreement the spouses have about spousal support (such as a prenuptial contract)
  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking support and their likely ability to become self-sufficient over time

A variety of other circumstances may also influence if you will have to pay spousal support and how much you will have to pay.

What Are Some Strategies and Tips to Avoid Paying Spousal Support?

There is no surefire way to avoid paying spousal support. However, some of the following strategies and tips may help you to either avoid a court order for child support or minimize the amount you have to pay:

  • Negotiating an agreement privately: If you can agree with your spouse about an appropriate spousal support situation and get it in writing, the court is likely to honor that agreement. This is especially likely if the agreement is fair and reasonable and considers both spouses' incomes and abilities.
  • Securing a prenuptial agreement before the marriage: If you have a prenuptial agreement in place before you get married, the court will uphold that agreement in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial contracts are typically made to protect assets in the event of a divorce and can include specific terms for spousal support.
  • Prove your ex-spouse is living with someone else: If your ex-spouse is living with a new partner, you may be able to argue that they do not need spousal support because their new partner is providing for them. The same concept applies to scenarios where your spouse has entered a new job where they earn a more livable wage.
  • Shorter-term marriage benefits: If you have been married for a short period of time, it is less likely that the court will order you to pay permanent or long-term spousal support. Additionally, if you can negotiate an agreement with your spouse before filing for divorce, you may be able to avoid a lengthy court battle.
  • Hire a skilled family law attorney: If you are fighting for or against spousal support, it is in your best interest to hire a skilled family law attorney. They will be able to help you navigate the court system delicately to ensure spousal maintenance is not ordered or that the ordered amount is reasonable and not greedy.


Q: Is spousal support mandatory in Colorado?

A: No, spousal support is not mandatory in Colorado. If both spouses can support themselves after the divorce, the court is unlikely to order spousal support.

Q: How can I avoid paying spousal support?

A: Negotiating an agreement with your spouse before going to court, securing a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage, proving your ex-spouse is living with someone else, or otherwise proving that their financial situation has changed and so no longer need support from you are some strategies that may help you avoid paying spousal support.

Q: Who qualifies for spousal support in Colorado?

A: An ex-spouse who does not earn an income or has a lower earning capacity than the other spouse typically qualifies for spousal support. The court will also take into account the standard of living established during the marriage and each spouse's age and health.

Q: Can a spouse waive spousal support?

A: Yes, a spouse can waive spousal support in Colorado. This is typically done through a prenuptial agreement or divorce settlement agreement.

Contact Johnson Law Group for Spousal Support Help

If you are facing a divorce and are wondering what steps you need to take to protect your assets, please contact Johnson Law Group today. We are experienced in family law and can help you through every step of the process. We understand that divorce is a difficult process, and we will do everything we can to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
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