Colorado Child Support Laws
Proper representation is critical for any parent when going through a child custody case. While parents are allowed to create their own child support agreements, any agreement that deviates too far from the Colorado child support laws & guidelines will likely not receive court approval. This is just one reason why having an attorney with expertise in child support cases is critical.
The child support attorneys at Divorce Matters® are highly skilled in helping their clients navigate the more difficult aspects of child support proceedings.
How Child Support is Calculated
There are a variety of factors that are likely to affect the amount of child support a divorcing parent can expect to receive – or pay. In Colorado, child support is based on a strict and somewhat complicated statute that is designed to ensure every child of divorcing or separating parents receives full financial support from both of them. According to the Colorado Child Support Guidelines, the first step in calculating child support is to establish the gross monthly income of both parents. Gross income is the amount that someone brings home before any taxes and deductions. If one parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the judge may “assign” income to him or her. This often happens if it is clear to the court that the parent could be earning more than they actually are based on their experience and qualifications.
The second step of calculating child support in Colorado is establishing the number of overnights per year that each parent has with the child (or children). Generally speaking, the parent with fewer overnights can expect to have to pay child support to the other. A common exception to this general rule is if the parent with primary custody is a significantly higher income earner.
The third thing that a judge will consider in a child support case falls under the category of extraordinary and ongoing expenses. These expenses include things like medical insurance, daycare costs, extracurricular activities, travel, and the like. Per the Colorado Child Support Guidelines, the parent who pays these extra expenses is credited for them in the child support calculation formula.
Why Choose Divorce Matters?
The attorneys at Divorce Matters are experienced legal professionals who are well-versed in all aspects of Colorado child support laws, including child support calculation, along with a myriad of other divorce and child support-related issues. Divorce Matters is a Colorado-proud family law firm that has helped thousands of people just like you get a fresh start.
Every child support lawyer at Divorce Matters is well versed in Colorado child support laws and genuinely understands how difficult going through a divorce can be. We are aggressive and compassionate legal advocates who are devoted to achieving the best possible outcome for each client.
If you are curious to know what your monthly child support payments might be, we encourage you to download our very own Child Support Calculator App. Simply input your personal financial information along with the financial information of your co-parent and the app will provide a close approximation of what your child support payment will look like.
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Child support obligations are based primarily on each parent’s current gross income, the amount of work-related day care expenses which are incurred on behalf of the minor children (if any), and the cost for providing health insurance coverage for the children. The court must use a child support worksheet, which calculates the presumed correct amount of child support under Colorado law. The court can order a higher or lower amount than the presumed correct amount under certain circumstances such as when the parties have shared parenting, a child has special needs, or other unusual circumstances.
The simple answer is, NO. As far as the court is concerned, child support and parenting time are two separate issues. If your children’s mother/father fails to pay child support, she/he can be held in contempt of court, or may even be charged with a felony. If you fail to provide the scheduled parenting time, you too can be held in contempt of court. Again, remember that one of the ”˜best interest of the child factors’ is: “The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.” If you fail to encourage parenting time with the other parent, it may be used against you at a later date.
The court cannot order you to pay for college expenses; however, if you and your spouse agree to have a provision included in the judgment of divorce that requires payment for college, then the court can enforce that promise just like any other contract.
In Colorado, you can enter an income assignment or garnishment, with your ex’s employer. Then, the Family Support Registry will monitor and transfer the payments directly to you.
If the Court finds your ex is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the Judge may impute, or assign an income to him/her for purposes of determining the amount of child support to be paid.
Divorce Matters® is a Denver Colorado divorce attorney law firm. We provide information and services including the divorce process through the courts, division of marital property, assets as well as debts and parental rights regarding biological and adopted children.