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!