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Are Women Responsible for Spousal Support?

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Many women are now the breadwinners of the household, and more men find themselves taking care of the house for the wife and kids. As an extreme example of disparity of wealth in relationships, diva extraordinaire Mariah Carey (net worth approximately $500 million) is divorcing husband Nick Cannon (worth a measly couple million.) She has a prenuptial agreement, but the confidentiality clause prevents us from pouring over the gossip rags to learn about her spousal support terms.

However, you don’t need a multi-million Las Vegas residency gig to be on the hook for alimony to your soon-to-be ex. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims almost 40 percent of women now out-earn their husbands. But there are ramifications for women’s increased earning capacities in divorce.

What Do Colorado’s New Maintenance Laws Mean for Spouses?

Alimony in Colorado is called maintenance, and has historically been determined by a combination of factors such as education, job capabilities and whether you are a stay-at-home parent. However, judges in the cases had a lot of leeway””leading to different alimony amounts for similar situations throughout the state.

Last year, however, Colorado decided guidelines were necessary to reduce the differences in maintenance. The 2014 guidelines are gender-neutral and theoretically more consistent for both men and women””less surprises, less differences in courtrooms, and less uncertainty for divorcing couples. However, the 2014 guidelines are still discretionary.

So what does this mean for couples getting married? If you plan to be a stay-at-home dad or a much lower earner than your wife, or if you are a woman who is a career-oriented high earner, consider a prenuptial agreement. You can work out a mutually beneficial maintenance schedule or have it waived entirely. Many couples with prenuptial agreements simply put the document away and live happily ever after””it’s simply a safeguard for life’s unexpected trajectories.

(Oh and Mariah, call us before the next wedding!)

Divorce Matters ”“ Family Law Attorneys Serving Denver