Colorado law sets forth a strict, complex formula for determining child support obligations, regardless of whether this matter arises during or outside of divorce.1 Understanding how child support is calculated, ordered and enforced in Colorado is crucial to helping parents secure and comply with these orders. It can also be important to highlighting the options for modifying and enforcing child support orders whenever necessary.
At The Datz Law Firm, our Broomfield lawyers have vast experience representing parents in an array of child support matters. Whether you need to secure, modify or enforce child support orders, you can rely on our skilled attorneys for effective advocacy and the best outcomes possible.
Our goal is to help you favorably resolve your legal issues so you can get through the challenging times and focus on what matters most – your child(ren).
Call (720) 573-0539 or Email Us for Crucial Insights & Advice Regarding Your Child Support Case
While our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., we are also available to meet with you at any time during the evenings and weekends. We are flexible, available and responsive so you can get the answers and information you need whenever your legal issues arise.
What Is Child Support Supposed to Pay for?
Child support should be used to cover the expenses related to caring for and raising a child. As such, these expenses can include (and may not be limited to) the costs of:
- Tuition and child care
- Health insurance and medical care
- Extracurricular activities
- Day-to-day needs, like food, clothing, etc.
How Is Child Support Determined?
If parents can agree on child support payments – and if that agreement generally complies with Colorado’s child support guidelines, the court will usually review and approve the arrangement, issuing official orders.
When parents cannot agree on child support, the court will intervene, using a complicated calculation to make a determination. This calculation incorporates various relevant factors, like (but not limited to):
- The number of child(ren) involved – This includes biological and non-biological children under the parents’ legal authority.
- The financial resources of the child(ren) and both parents – For parents, these resources can include work-related earnings, as well as income from rental properties, trusts, royalties, pensions, retirement benefits and other sources.
- The standard of living establishing during the marriage – Please note that this factor is only used when child support issues arise in the course of divorce.
- The child’s needs, based on his or her physical and mental condition – For instance, if a child has a physical and/or mental disability, the condition will be considered when determining support payment obligations.
The Colorado Department of Human Services provides an online worksheet parents can use to estimate child support obligations.
How Long Do Child Support Payments Last?
By law, child support payments will generally continue until the child turns 19 years old. If, however, the child is physically or mentally disabled and, consequently, is unable to support him- or herself, the child support obligations will continue as long as the disability is present.
Can Child Support Orders Be Changed?
Yes, it is possible to modify child support orders after they have been established by the court. For these changes, the parent seeking the modification must establish that:
- (S)he has experienced a significant, continuing change in earnings or in expenses related to the child.
- The request for modification involves at least a 10 percent change.
Some examples of the circumstances that may give rise to a “significant, continuing change” can include job loss or the development of a new health impairment that prevents a parent from working.
What Are My Options If the Other Parent Fails to Pay Child Support?
A common mistake parents can make when the other parent fails to pay child support is withholding custody. This is not the solution to the nonpayment of child support, as it can backfire, potentially creating more problems down the line (due the violation of the court’s custody orders).
Rather than withhold custody, the best thing to do when one parent violates court orders regarding child support is to report the nonpayment to the state’s Child Support Services (CSS), the agency with legal authority enforce these orders and issue penalties for nonpayment.
Some of the penalties that CSS may impose for failure to abide by child support orders include:
- Wage garnishment
- Driver’s license suspensions
- Interception of tax returns
- Credit bureau reporting
- Liens against the non-payer’s property
- Contempt of court and jail time.
Given how important child support orders and payments are – the potential consequences of nonpayment, it’s critical to work with an experienced lawyer at The Datz Law Firm who can help you:
- Safeguard your rights and interests in any child support case
- Set your case up for a favorable outcome.
Contact an Experienced Broomfield Child Support Lawyer at The Datz Law Firm
A Broomfield child support lawyer at The Datz Law Firm is ready to assist you with any matters regarding child support orders in Colorado. Call (720) 573-0539 or email us for a case evaluation and important answers regarding your options.
At The Datz Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing compassionate representation and superior legal service for various family legal matters, including those involving child support. We are proud to offer the same type of legal advocacy and client-centered service that we would demand if we were in our clients’ shoes.
From our Broomfield offices, The Datz Law Firm represents clients throughout the state of Colorado in various family law cases.
1: Details of Colorado Child Support Law, from the Colorado Judicial Branch