The purpose of child support is to ensure that children are not deprived
of an acceptable standard of living after parents get a
legal separation or
divorce. With this in mind, Colorado state law applies a model referred to as
"income shares" when determining which parent will pay support
and how much he or she will pay. The primary deciding factors are the
amount of money each parent earns on a monthly basis and how much time
the child or children spend with each parent.
Typically, the parent who is awarded
child custody will end up receiving child support, and the amount paid will be in proportion
to the income of the paying parent. Unlike some states, Colorado uses
a formula that takes into account these factors, as well as matters such
as costs for child care and health insurance and whether either parent
is financially responsible for any other children from a previous relationship.
It is possible, however, for either parent to present evidence of why
it would be necessary to deviate from the formula based on extenuating
Calculating Child Support Payments
In Colorado, child support payments are calculated primarily by:
Number of children
If you have more children to care for, your child support payments will
likely be higher than someone with only one child. The state will also
take into account how much you can afford based on your gross income (minus
certain essential expenses). Child support payments can also fluctuate
depending on the custody arrangement. The more days per year the child/children
are with one parent, the more that parent can receive in child support payments.
Extraordinary child expenses, such as medical expenses, will also be taken
into account when calculating child support payments. These expenses might
include physical therapy, chronic health problems, education needs, special
modes of transportation, etc. In most cases, a need is "extraordinary"
if the need is not covered by insurance and it costs more than $250 per
child per year.
Shared Physical Care and Child Support
In the event that both parents share physical care of their child, child
support obligations must be computed for each parent. This is done by
multiplying each parent's child support obligation by the percentage of
time the child spends with the other parent. The parent who owes more
child support will be responsible for paying the difference between the
two amounts. This is applicable only in cases where each parent has physical
custody of their child for more than 92 nights per year. For more information
on calculating child support payments, visit the
Colorado Child Support Guideline or contact our firm directly.
Can I modify the child support payment amount?
If you have experienced a substantial change of circumstances that makes
the current child support payment amount unsustainable, then you can bring
a petition for
modification to the family law court. Common reasons for modifying a child support
order include job loss, a pay cut, and rising costs in paying for the
children's education, health care, and other needs. Either the recipient
or the paying parent may submit a modification petition. A Colorado Springs
family law attorney can help you present your case in order to persuade
the judge to rule in your favor.
Enlisting the Help of a Divorce Lawyer
The order to pay child support has the force of law, and if your former
spouse has fallen behind or is refusing to pay child support, then a Colorado
Springs divorce attorney from Clawson & Clawson, LLP can help you
seek legal recourse for
enforcement. Penalties for non-payment of child support can include a driver's license
suspension, wage garnishment (referred to as "income assignment"),
and even a criminal arrest for contempt of court and a sentence of jail time.
You have a right to demand that your former spouse carry his or her share
of the burden of providing for your children's needs.
Contact our firm today for assistance.