Colorado Springs Child Support Attorney
How is Child Support Determined in Colorado?
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 circumstances.
Calculating Child Support Payments
In Colorado, child support payments are calculated primarily by:
- Number of children
- Gross income
- Custody agreement
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.