If I Get a Raise, Do I Need to Report it For Child Support?

Child support can be a pretty complicated topic, especially when the child support amount may need to change. So what does happen if you get a raise? Do you need to report it?

Do I need to report my raise?

To change your child support in Colorado, the court requires a “substantial and continuing” change. This change can include a change in income. Because this language is sort of murky, the courts have further defined what they mean by a substantial change when it comes to income. If you have a raise of 10% or more, that would be defined as substantial. It is important to note that this is just a guideline and the courts may decide a lower amount is substantial enough for a change!

The change in child support can go both ways and will depend on which parent got a raise in income. If the child support paying parent got a raise, the amount of the child support payment will likely increase. However, if the parent receiving child support gets a substantial raise, the parent paying the child support may have their payment decrease.

If you want to see how your or your ex’s raise will affect your child support, check out the Divorce Matters Calculator App.

How do I get my child support updated?

Changes in child support payments are not automatic.  There are two ways child support can be modified.  The first is through an annual assessment.  In Colorado, parents are supposed to reassess and recalculate their child support agreement “once a year or less”. This reassessment will be based on changes in income, parenting time, and other factors, like child care and living expenses. If there have been no changes to income parenting time, etc., then the annual reassessment is not required.

If a change has occurred, however, the court requires this annual reassessment. Both parents have a duty to report any changes that have happened over the previous year. This is supposed to make it more difficult for either parent to hide information, especially an increase in income, from the other parent.

The second way child support can be modified is through a request to the court to modify the child support order. If your ex does not agree to your modification request, the court will request a hearing to determine the appropriate course of action. Afterward, the court will issue an order either modifying your existing child support order or denying the request to do so.

Am I entitled to back pay?

If your request for child support modification is approved, you will generally get child support back pay to the time you filed a request for a change with the court.  It will not apply prior to the time of filing. For example, if your ex gets a raise in August, you file a Motion to Modify Child Support in October, and the Motion is approved in December, you are entitled to “back pay” beginning in October.  You are not entitled to back pay for August and September before the Motion was filed.  This means that it is important to request a change with the court as soon as you know that there is a change.

If there is back pay, it will not be due all at once. Instead, it will be summed up and paid over the next two years. For example, if you are owed an extra $200 in child support for October and November, you won’t receive $200 in December.  Instead, you will receive an extra $8.33 a month for the next two years.

Contact us if you have any questions about modifying your existing child support agreement or would like to speak to an expert child custody attorney today!

What Types of Law Does Divorce Matters Practice?

Just from our name, it’s easy to tell that we excel in divorce law, but what other kinds of cases can Divorce Matters handle? We are a law firm specializing in family law. Family law covers a wide variety of different cases including:


Estate Planning

Divisions of Marital Property

An important part of the divorce process in Colorado is figuring out how to divide marital property. The procedure generally involves two steps. First, it must be determined what marital property is. Second, the marital property must be divided equitably

Spousal Maintenance

In Colorado, neither spouse has an automatic right to maintenance. The court may award maintenance only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to meet their reasonable needs and, in addition, is either unable to support themselves through appropriate employment or should not be required to seek employment because of child care responsibilities. Divorce Matters has lots of experience in Spousal Maintenance negotiations and our attorneys are the perfect choice to help you!

Child Custody

When children are involved, the divorce process doesn’t end once the final paperwork is filed. With children come often contentious and painful negotiations about and modification of parental rights, parenting time, and custody. Our team has deep experience dealing with child custody and parental rights issues and we believe it is our duty and an imperative to help couples address custody and rights issues in ways that reduce the impact of divorce and protect children in the process.

Child Support

In Colorado, child support is based on strict guidelines dictated by state laws and statutes. The issue of child support is separate and distinct from the issue of parenting time, and child support payments may not be conditioned upon parenting time. Due to these strict laws, it is important to have guidance from an expert attorney throughout the process.

Post Decree Modifications

Have your circumstances changed since your divorce? Have you lost your job? Has your ex-spouse received a salary increase? Did your ex-spouse fail to disclose financial matters during the dissolution of marriage? Once your divorce is finalized, fortunately, not everything in your original separation agreement or parenting plan is set in stone. Courts recognize that circumstances change, and, sometimes, spouses hide income or assets during the divorce process. Depending on the exact circumstances of your case, you may have a variety of options post-decree. In the following sections, we explore your options in modifying maintenance, child support, parenting time, custody, and decision-making, as well as how you can reopen your property division.

Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration are perfect options for anyone going through a divorce. Both options allow the partners to take more control in the divorce, as well as keep the process out of court. Not only does Divorce Matters represent clients through mediation and arbitration, but we also have a mediator on staff!

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence happens to people in all classes, statuses, and ranks in life, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, education, profession, or socioeconomic status. The unfortunate reality is that one in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, resulting in an estimated 1.3 million women becoming victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

Contempt of Court

After having gone through a divorce or once you have some orders from the court, you may at some point find yourself on either end of a contempt of court action if one of the parties is not complying with the orders. If you find yourself on either end of a contempt action, Divorce Matters is here to help!

Unbundled Legal Services

Unbundled legal services are the perfect solution for anyone not ready to jump into full-scale representation. With unbundled services, you can hire an attorney at their hourly rate to help you with specific aspects of your legal troubles, like filing paperwork or gathering documents!

Common-Law Marriage

The state of Colorado allows couples to enter into common law marriage. However, the parameters of common law marriage can be hazy and difficult to understand, just like common law divorce


If your case falls under family law, we can help with your appeal!

Prenuptial Agreements

While there are a million things to plan when a couple decides to marry, often the most difficult to discuss with your future partner is the possible need for a prenuptial agreement. While this subject is not the most romantic or exciting part of wedding planning, a couple contemplating marriage in Colorado may need to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement, or a contract before marriage.

Military Divorce

To thank our Military service members, we even offer 10% off of legal fees! This discount is offered to all active and retired service members, veterans, and military spouses.

Thomas Legal Firm

While Divorce Matters only deals in family law, we do have a sister law firm that offers other services. Thomas Law Firm deals with Criminal matters as well as Civil Law matters, including general litigation, civil rights, workers’ compensation, and business defense litigation.

5 Myths about Child Custody and Support

  1. Mothers always get custody of the kids

False! The court will always choose what is in the best interest of the child. The court will examine all of the evidence, with their only goal being to make a decision that is best for your child, whether that be the father having custody, the mother having custody, neither having custody, or both having custody!

2. If we have joint custody, I won’t have to pay child support

True and False! The way that the court determines child support is based on a statutory calculation that takes into account each parent’s income, how much time each parent has custody of the children, and the children’s expenses, like clothes, insurance, school costs, etc. To calculate what you may pay in child support (or spousal maintenance), you can use Divorce Matter’s Child Support Calculation App! If you have joint custody and you already do pay for a portion of the child’s monthly expenses when they live at your house, you may already pay enough and do not need to pay any additional money in child support!

  1. I can deny visitation if my ex does not pay child support

False! Visitation is a separate issue from child support and therefore if visitation rights are outlined in the parenting agreement, those rights cannot be withheld based on failure to pay child support. It is important to follow the parenting agreement exactly as written, otherwise, you may get in trouble with the court as well! The best course of action is to speak with your attorney about notifying the court that your ex is not paying the proper child support. The court will then decide what action is best to take and you will remain free and clear of any trouble!

  1. The kids get to choose which parent they live with

False! As mentioned above, the court takes only one thing into account when deciding who should receive custody of the children: the best interest of the children. That means that the judge will take into account many of the different factors that affect this, including the wishes of the children. However, this isn’t the only factor the judge will consider so while this is taken into account it is not necessarily how the judge will rule.

  1. My ex can move out of state with the kids without my consent

False! While it is true that your ex can move your kids out of state without asking you before you file, once the paperwork has been filed for separation or for a parenting agreement, there will be an injunction placed on moving the children. This means that, regardless of permission, the children will need to stay exactly where they are!

Are Same-Sex Divorces Handled the Same As Heterosexual Divorces?

With tides having turned in the struggle for LGBTQ+ marriage rights over the last decade, often questions about whether there are any differences when it comes to marriage for same-sex couples arise. Are these marriages the same as heterosexual marriages? And what about the divorces?

How is same-sex divorce different from a divorce between a heterosexual couple?

Because same-sex marriage is legal in Colorado there is virtually no difference between same-sex divorce and heterosexual divorce. This means that you can either be a petitioner and respondent or petitioner and co-petitioner. After that, the divorce will proceed as a heterosexual divorce would.

How will child support and custody factor into a same-sex divorce?

Because many same-sex couples have children, this is a question that is often at the forefront of the couples’ minds. However, the court will proceed as they would for any divorce. Regardless of whether or not the child is biologically yours, or adopted by one or both parents, the court will determine parenting time based on the best interests of the child. If both parents are adoptive parents, they are both treated as if they are legal parents to the children. This is the same if one party is the biological parent and one party is an adoptive parent.

Additionally, child support will be calculated using the same calculation as in any other child support situation. If you’re curious what child support might look like in your particular set of circumstances, check out our calculator.

If you are interested in common law marriage divorce or divorce for LGBTQIA+ couples, you can learn more here. You can also find more materials discussing same-sex marriage on our website.

Do I Need to File for Divorce to Get Child Support?

Child Custody and Child Support can be an incredibly complicated process. Because of this, a lot of questions can arise from anyone actively going through the process or beginning the process. One of these questions, which this blog will go over, is “Do I need to file for divorce to get child support?” The short answer to that question is that, if you are married, you will most likely need to file for divorce to get child support or determine any child custody matters. However, it does depend on each individual situation and the State will sometimes seek child support on a parent’s behalf.

As mentioned above, if you are married, child custody matters do tend to be wrapped up in the divorce proceedings. This means that once you file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, to begin your divorce process, then the child custody process will begin as well. This process includes everything having to do with your children, including child support.

If you are not married, then your child custody process will look slightly different. This process will not begin with the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. Rather, you will file a Petition for Allocation of Parental responsibilities to kick start the custody determination process. This process will also include the calculation of child custody.

As always, the best way to begin the child custody process is to hire an attorney. An attorney knows the child custody process, whether you are married or not, intimately and will be able to guide you through all the paperwork necessary to be collected and filed. Here at Divorce Matters, we also schedule an initial consultation, which will allow you to ask any general questions you may have about the process before you hire your attorney. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at (720) 542-6142 or you can send us a message through our website.

How is Child Support Determined Based on Income?

What goes in to the court’s decision?

There are a lot of factors going in to the determination of child support. The most important factors are childcare expenses, monthly income, and the number of overnights your child will spend with you. Your monthly income is just the total amount of money you will bring in in a month, before any taxes or deductions. If you do receive spousal maintenance, that amount will be factored in to your monthly income. Childcare expenses include medical, childcare, medical insurance, school, and extra-curricular costs.

How is child support calculated?

Based on all of these factors, the court will calculate how much it costs to take care of the child and how much time the child spends with each parent. The time spent with each parent is calculated by counting the number of overnight visits. After determining how much time is spent with each parent, the court will use it own formula to determine how much you (or your ex-partner) will owe in child support. It is important to note that child support is often paid to the primary custodian of the child, but this is not always the case. If you would like to determine how much you might pay in child support (or spousal maintenance) you can refer to Divorce Matters’ Child Support Calculator! This app, developed by Divorce Matters, takes all of the information the courts in Colorado would use to decide a child support amount and calculate a probable amount you might pay. To learn more, visit here. 

What happens if my income changes?

Generally, your income will need to have a 10% difference, either positively or negatively, to affect the child support amount. If you lose your job, get laid off, or even get a raise, these are all factors that may change the amount of child support you either pay or receive. To change that amount, you would need to file a Motion to Modify Child Support Order. A judge will then decide what your new amount should be.

If you have questions about your child support arrangement please reach out to our firm to speak with one of our attorneys. You can fill out a form here, or call us at 720-542-6142.

What if I Believe My Spouse is Unfit to Take Care of Our Children?

If you believe that your spouse (or former spouse) is unfit to care for your children, there are a few possible routes to take. The route that you take will depend on the urgency and severity of the situation. If the situation does not require immediate attention, you can file a “Motion for Modification of Parenting Time”. If the situation is more urgent and needs to be remedied immediately, you can file a “Motion to Restrict Parenting Time” or you can call Child Protective Services (CPS). You can learn more about each of these options below.

Motion for Modification of Parenting Time

There are a few different routes to take depending on the severity of the situation. If your concerns do not require immediate attention, you can file a “Motion for Modification of Parenting Time” as discussed above. This motion may be filed every two years or as often as necessary, as long as you can prove that circumstances have changed. The change in circumstances could be a variety of things, including, but not limited to, moving, use of drugs or illegal substances, or the creation of an unsafe situation for children. In proving this change of circumstances, it may be helpful to hire a third-party investigator, called a Child and Family Investigator or Parental Responsibilities Evaluator. To be clear, this is not an immediate solution and will take a minimum of 3 months to complete. Following a minimum of 3 months, the court may deny the modification and elect to keep the parenting plan consistent or modify the plan in line with the requested modification or in any way the court sees fit to modify the parenting time agreement.

Motion to Restrict Parenting Time

If your situation is more urgent, there are two roads that will lead to a quicker resolution from the court. One of these options is to file a “Motion to Restrict Parenting Time”. This motion must include the reasons that you believe the children will be endangered, either physically or emotionally, by remaining in the care of the opposing parent. The court is required to set a hearing date within 14 days of filing this motion, making it significantly quicker than filing a “Motion for Modification of Parenting Time”. When the date of the hearing comes around, you should make sure to bring any evidence you have that your children are not safe with the opposing parent. It is important that this evidence is not just what your children have told you, as this can be considered “hearsay” and may not be admissible evidence. If the court finds that you are correct and the other parent is physically or emotionally endangering the child, there may be steps or restrictions put into place that the opposing parent must go through if they want to regain any parenting time. For example, if the opposing parent has been using drugs, the court may order a rehabilitation program before they are allowed to regain any parenting time. The court can also restrict or reduce the opposing parent’s parenting time. It is important to remember that this is a very serious claim and should not be filed without base. If this motion is found to be baseless or vengeful, the court may require you to pay the opposing parent’s attorney fees.

Child Protective Services

The second option for a more urgent case is contacting Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS is a government agency that investigates claims of child abuse or neglect. This is the most serious action and will result in the most immediate response. Before getting more into this process, it is important to note that calling CPS on the opposing parent will also invite CPS to investigate you. The organization is meant to make decisions in the best interest of the child and they cannot do this without investigating every aspect of your children’s lives.  This investigation will include interviewing both parents, various witnesses, and the children themselves. CPS will generally make findings of the best situation for the children without initiating action through the court. In more severe cases, however, CPS will initiate action through the courts called a “Dependency and Neglect Action”. This may result in the child being removed from the unsafe environment, supervised visitation, reintegration therapy, substance abuse monitoring, or any action that the court feels is appropriate to the situation.

Can My Citizenship Status Affect My Divorce?

Divorce can be a difficult process on its own, but when you have citizenship concerns it can become even more daunting. However, if you arm yourself with knowledge about your situation you can properly prepare yourself for what to expect.

Is there any difference in the divorce proceedings or parental rights hearings if I am not a U.S. citizen or if I have recently become a U.S. citizen?

The short answer is no! The proceedings should continue exactly as they would if there were no citizenship concerns. If you have recently become a citizen, there are no concerns as to the status of your citizenship, because your citizen status cannot be taken away due to your divorce.

Will divorce affect my green card status?

This question has a more complicated answer than the first! To understand how divorce might affect your citizenship status, you first have to understand how the citizenship process works. To become a citizen, you must have a green card. In order to get that green card, through marriage, immigration officials must confirm that your marriage is a “bona fide” marriage. This just means it cannot be a marriage for citizenship. After you get your green card, you have to retain it for a certain amount of time, usually 5 years, to gain your citizenship. However, this time shortens from 5 years to 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen. If you do file for divorce before the 3 years is up, you will not have your green card revoked, however you will have to wait the 5-year waiting period for citizenship, as opposed to the 3-year waiting period when you are married to a U.S. citizen. This also holds true if you have been married longer than 3 years, but less than 5 years, and have not yet filed for citizenship. If you have already had your green card for 5 years before you file for divorce, however, the divorce will have no bearing on when or if you can file for citizenship.

If the divorce is contentious and your ex-spouse claims that the marriage was not bona fide, the case can become a little bit more difficult. If you already have citizenship, this will not affect your citizenship. If you still have your green card, you will just have to prove that the marriage is or was bona fide, either by what immigration officials have already proven or by your own evidence, to continue in the citizenship process.

What if I am undocumented? Can I still get a divorce?

If you are undocumented, you can still get a divorce and proceedings will continue as they would for any other divorce case. It is important to note, though, that anything you say in divorce court can also be used against you in immigration court. Because of that, if you are undocumented, it is wise to retain an immigration attorney as well as a divorce attorney in the case that you do want to file for divorce. Being undocumented could also make parenting agreements difficult, especially if you are deported or leave the United States. Again, in this case it is important to retain an immigration attorney, as well as a divorce attorney, to protect your parental rights.

5 Colorado Summer Vacation Destinations for the Whole Family

Summer break can be a hard time of year for divorced parents. While extra time with your kids and warm weather can bring joy, it can also come with difficulty splitting up parenting time. Sometimes, even just planning a vacation can be difficult if it’s going to be out of state. This list of 5 family-friendly Colorado destinations will make planning your summer vacation far easier and allow you to make the most of your parenting time.

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

  1. Durango: This charming and historic town has a lot to offer during the summertime. Because of the river that runs through town there are plenty of water sports to keep the kiddos busy including kayaking, tubing, paddling, and whitewater rafting. Durango also offers a scenic railroad, in addition to various restaurants, boutique hotels, retail stores, and the Durango Discovery Museum!
  2. Snowmass: New on the summer vacation scene, Snowmass is quickly becoming one of the best family vacation spots in Colorado. There are tons of options for outdoor activities, like the Treeline Trial Challenge Course and the Lost Forest Adventure Park, which offers zip lines, an alpine coaster, a climbing wall, disc golf, and even paintball. In addition, the town of Snowmass boasts restaurants, live music, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and even a rodeo. The Roaring Fork River also offers water sports, specifically paddle boarding with local guides.
  3. Steamboat Springs: This cute Western town offers a weekly rodeo, which draws many tourists to the area. Main Street offers a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as being close to the Old Town Hot Springs. The springs have numerous pools and areas to play in and are a great spot for kids! There are plenty of activities on the mountain as well, including mini-golf, tubing, mini-boats, bounce houses, climbing walls, a mountain coaster, hiking, and biking. The 4th of July is a great time to visit Steamboat Springs for their huge parade through Old Town.
  4. Glenwood Springs: Another hot spring town? We promise it’s worth the stop! Glenwood Springs has a resort called Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which offers a mile-long pool for kids to swim to their heart’s content. In the summertime, there are cabana rentals and even a splash zone. For the more adventurous children, there is adventure to be had at the Historic Fairy Caves Tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
  5. Winter Park: Only a 90-mile drive from Denver, Winter Park has a lot to offer its summer visitors. On the mountain, families can check out Colorado’s longest alpine slide, free Friday movie nights, climbing walls, and the Trestle Bike Park, which has trails appropriate for all ages. Families can also take a one-hour walking tour of the kennels at the Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park. The area also boasts 5 mountain lakes, which are perfect for boating, fishing, and water sports. Grand Lake is one of these lakes and is Colorado’s largest body of water. The historic boardwalk has various shops, restaurants, and even a theater to check out. As with all of Colorado, there are beautiful trails and hikes to be found all over this area.

Check out our source (and more info) here

Will I be Affected by Changes to the 2021 Child Tax Credit?

Recently it was announced that under the American Rescue Plan Act the expanded Child Tax Credit would be distributed differently in 2021. This year, half of the tax credit will be distributed on a monthly basis beginning in July and the other half will arrive with your 2021 tax refund. While this tax credit is a welcomed relief for many families who are struggling to make ends meet, it also spells confusion for most folks who are going through or already divorced.


How will this tax credit be distributed if I am divorced?


The Child Tax Credit can only be claimed on one tax return, so if you are divorced or filing separately this means that only one parent will be able to claim the tax credit. A court order or separation agreement will name the person eligible to claim the tax credit, this is typical whichever parent has primary custody. There are several ways a 50/50 custody arrangement might address this, for example, some may choose to file with the tax credit every other year.


Can the courts rule that this year’s tax credit be split?


In most cases, the courts will follow whatever was agreed upon in your separation agreement or court order. However, this is not the end of the line if you wish to treat this year’s tax credit differently. For example, if your ex claims the tax credit every year but you are able to come to an agreement with them that you will file for the tax credit this year, you can file an IRS Form 8332. This form is a right of tax benefit transfer, which would allow you to claim for this year. Please be aware that it is important you check with your attorney first before moving forward with anything that deviates from your separation agreement. We also suggest seeking out a tax professional for help with filing your taxes.


Can the tax credit payments be garnished for child support if I am behind on my payments?

Per the American Rescue Plan Act, this tax credit is not subject to garnishment meaning you will receive the full amount from the government. However, this does not protect that payment from garnishment or levy once the money is in your bank account. Another consideration is that while it won’t be garnished when distributed when you file your taxes at the end of the year it may be subject to offset.


What do I do if the tax credit was claimed by my ex, but I was supposed to claim it this year?


The best way to handle this is to get in touch with your attorney. They will be able to help you chart the best course of action, whether that be reaching out to negotiate with your ex and coming to an amicable resolution, or filing a motion of contempt with the courts.


If you have questions, please reach out to one of our experienced attorneys today.