Understanding Alimony in a High-Net-Worth Divorce

Price Family Law
Denver Family Law Attorney

If you’ve recently decided that a divorce is the best option for you and your spouse, you might be wondering how alimony — or, as it’s known in Colorado, maintenance — will work. This subject can be especially confusing when you have a high net worth.

Divorce proceedings are complex, and when high-net-worth individuals are involved, additional layers of financial intricacies come into play. Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, is a critical aspect of divorce settlements, especially in cases where substantial assets are at stake.

Colorado Maintenance Guidelines

Although Colorado has advisory guidelines in place to help courts make maintenance decisions, they don’t apply to couples with a combined gross income of $240,000 or higher.

In these situations, the court must consider many other factors when ruling on spousal maintenance, including the following:

  • Gross income of each party
  • Marital property allocated to each party
  • Financial resources of each party
  • The lifestyle both parties enjoyed throughout the marriage
  • Each party’s employability
  • Whether one party has historically been a higher or lower earner than the other
  • Age and health of each party
  • Length of the marriage
  • Temporary spousal maintenance (if any) paid to one spouse
  • How each party contributed to the marriage (this includes child-rearing, homemaking, etc.).

Before the court makes a decision regarding permanent spousal maintenance, it will decide on property division. This step is critical because the division of assets and debts could impact a party’s ability to pay maintenance (for example, if they take on responsibility for substantial marital debt). Property division could also affect one party’s need for support (for example, if they received income-producing assets like rental properties).

High-Net-Worth Divorce Dos and Don’ts

A high-net-worth or high-asset divorce can be daunting for all parties involved. However, if you keep these guidelines in mind, you’ll have an easier time navigating this complicated process:

Do Hire a Lawyer Right Away

Look for a lawyer who specializes in high-net-worth divorces and has an in-depth understanding of how the state’s divorce laws work. You need an expert on your side who can offer guidance and ensure you’re making wise decisions that benefit you now and in the future.

Do Consider Your Debt

In addition to considering your assets and overall net worth, you should also factor in your debts. Make sure you divide those up just like assets — this is one of many situations in which your lawyer will be invaluable.

Don’t Hide Assets

If you fail to disclose information regarding your wealth or are caught hiding assets, you could end up facing severe legal and financial consequences. It’s always better to be honest from the beginning, especially when you’re dealing with something as serious as a divorce.

Don’t Try to “Get Back” at Your Spouse

No matter how acrimonious your divorce might be, resist the urge to try to “get back” at your spouse. Doing so will likely make the process longer, more complex, and more draining than it needs to be.

Contact Our Attorneys Today

Having experienced divorce lawyers on your side can help when you are working through a high-net-worth divorce. That’s where our team at Price Family Law comes in.

Contact us online or give us a call at 720-615-1750.

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    Attorney Trista Price

    Trista McElhaney Price is a founding partner at Price Family Law, LLC. She specializes in high-asset divorce cases and legal matters involving complex business and financial issues as well as complex custody matters involving domestic violence, substance abuse issues, and mental health issues. Read Full Bio.