Colorado child support facts for parents

Colorado uses an income shares model when calculating child support and has strict laws regarding modification and enforcement of child support as well.

When couples make the decision to divorce or separate, it can directly affect the emotional and financial wellbeing of any children who are involved. Many children of divorced, separated or unmarried parents are forced to change from living in a household with healthy finances to a home with limited income. In order to minimize the financial impact of divorce on children, Colorado enforces strict child support guidelines. Colorado officials believe that children deserve to receive financial support from both of their parents, regardless of whether or not they are together.

Income shares model

Colorado enforces an income shares model of child support, which adheres to the concept that children are entitled to the same amount of financial support that they would have had if their parents had remained together, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Child support is calculated using each parent’s gross income, as reported by the Colorado Department of Human Services. When determining the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent is obligated to pay, the judge will take into consideration how much time the child spends at each parent’s house. In most cases, both parents will be responsible for health care insurance, childcare and educational expenses. Some parents may choose to share in the costs of extracurricular activities as well.

Child support enforcement

Child support is court-ordered; therefore, parents are held legally responsible to make their payments. Colorado Courts have several child support enforcement methods they use when parents become negligent in meeting their financial obligations. These include:

  • Wage garnishment withholds the ordered child support from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck.
  • Interception of tax refunds and lottery winnings.
  • Suspension of certain licenses, including professional, hunting, and driver’s licenses.
  • Freezing bank accounts until the delinquent child support amount is repaid.
  • Reporting the past due amount to the credit bureaus, making it difficult for the negligent parent to qualify for loans, credit cards or property purchases.
  • Contempt of court, which may require the parent to serve jail time.

Child support enforcement agencies can also contact the non-custodial parent’s insurance agency and require them to add the dependent children to the obligator’s policy. The deductions will then be taken out of the parent’s paycheck.

Child support modification

In some cases, the amount of court-ordered child support needs to be modified to embrace a parent’s change in life circumstances. According to Colorado Courts, the change in child support must increase or decrease by at least 10 percent before it can be brought to court. Whether the parents have agreed upon a different parenting schedule or a parent has lost their job, child support modification can reflect changes in life through child support order adjustment.

Contact an attorney

Calculating, enforcing and modifying child support orders can be an arduous process. A knowledgeable attorney can be extremely helpful in providing essential legal guidance during the divorce process. They can also ensure that your child receives the financial support that they deserve.

Keywords: divorce, child support, visitation, custody