Maintenance is Colorado is a hotly debated issue. It seems like the statute is always changing, making it more difficult for spouses to get maintenance (more commonly referred to as alimony). It’s true that the current maintenance statute makes Colorado one of the hardest states to get a maintenance order. But before some spouses even begin their argument for why they deserve maintenance they forget to do one simple thing. Most spouses do not even get a chance to make a request for maintenance during a dissolution because they forget request maintenance in the petition for dissolution! While it may seem very simple it is seen more often than not in Domestic Relation courts.
In a case that is now over 30 years old, In re the Marriage of: Boyd, the husband failed to request permanent maintenance in the initial dissolution of marriage petition. The case went to the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Court held that 1) the husband’s petition did not encompass a request for permanent maintenance and 2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the request to consider the issue of permanent maintenance. The court basically said tough luck. You cannot request maintenance when it is convenient for you to do so and the request must be made in the petition! Further because the husband failed to amend his petition or ask for a continuance to do so, the Court was well within its right to deny the later on request for maintenance.
While some courts take a hard and fast view on this rule, some other Domestic Relations judges may let this slide. It really depends on the judge and there is no way to know which judges enforce this rule and those who don’t. Also, some judges will enforce this rule when it is convenient for them or the situation calls for it. Either way to avoid any needless, money and time consuming litigation, be sure to pay attention to the details and do the simple things to make your attempt to get spousal maintenance easier. So before you start to complain about being denied maintenance, be sure to first request it in the petition for dissolution of marriage!