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In re Marriage of Young.

2021 COA 96. No. 20CA1023.  Family Law—Motion to Modify Spousal Maintenance—CRS § 14-10-114(3)(a)(I) Factors.

July 15, 2021

The parties entered into a memorandum of understanding in which husband agreed to pay wife monthly maintenance, and the stipulated terms were incorporated into a dissolution decree. Nine months later, husband moved to modify maintenance under CRS § 14-10-122, arguing that his income had dropped and he could no longer afford to pay the stipulated amount. The magistrate denied husband’s motion, and the district court adopted the magistrate’s order.

On appeal, husband argued that the magistrate erred by failing to make findings under CRS § 14-10-114(3)(a)(I). When granting an initial maintenance award, the court must make findings on the CRS § 14-10-114(3)(a)(I) factors. But on a motion to modify maintenance, the court may, but is not required to, consider the statutory factors. Therefore, the magistrate did not err.

Husband also challenged the magistrate’s determination that he was voluntarily underemployed and many of the subsidiary findings underlying that determination. Here, some of the magistrate’s subsidiary findings underlying the determination were either irrelevant or unsupported by the record.

Husband also contended that the magistrate erred by concluding that he had sufficient resources to meet his maintenance obligation based on various deposits into his checking account. Here, the parties apparently agreed that the deposits were from an inheritance, but the magistrate did not make sufficient findings on this issue to permit meaningful review.

Husband further argued that the magistrate inappropriately relied on wife’s testimony about the children’s needs. However, the magistrate’s order shows that this fact did not influence her decision.

Lastly, husband argued that the magistrate erred in relying on husband’s bank statements because they were not discussed before closing argument. However, the parties stipulated to the admission of the bank statements during the hearing and husband testified about them. Accordingly, the magistrate did not err.

The order was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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