Child Support Lawyer in Colorado
Child support refers to financial payments made by one parent to the other to help provide for the basic needs of their child.
Colorado law ensures that every child in the state is provided with adequate care through child support payments, and the intent is that the child has the same financial support as they would if the parents were still together.
Dawn Rodgers has helped many clients in the Denver area with guidance on their child support issues and can help you navigate any legal questions you have pertaining to your child support matter.
Factors Considered for Child Support
Both parents are considered responsible for the financial support of their child and are legally obligated to support their child until the child reaches age 19.
Child support is indefinite if the child cannot support themselves as an adult because they suffer from a physical or mental disability. In determining the proper amount of support from each parent, the court in Colorado looks at several factors, including:
- The financial resources of the child
- The financial resources of the custodial parent
- The standard of living the child would have had if the marriage was not dissolved
- The physical and emotional condition of the child
- The child’s educational needs
- The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent
Child support includes financial payments to the custodial parent, child care expenses, health insurance coverage, medical expenses, educational expenses, and travel expenses for the child.
How is Child Support Calculated?
In Colorado, child support is calculated using a complex method known as child support guidelines. Under the law, each child is entitled to a portion of each parent’s income, known as the “income shares” approach.
The income shares approach looks at each parents’ gross income, which is all income that does not include the child support payments, such as wages, tips, salary, overtime, pensions, Social Security, public assistance, and retirement plans.
The costs of things like health insurance and childcare are then deducted.
These numbers are then inputted into guideline worksheets created by the state to determine how much each parent is responsible for and what the total child support payment will be from the non-custodial parent.
An experienced family law attorney can help work through the adjusted gross income guideline worksheet to help you determine what the proper support payment should be for your child.
Exceptions to Child Support Guidelines
Colorado law does allow for some exceptions to the basic child support worksheet guidelines. The guidelines for child support do not apply if the parents have very high or very low incomes. For example, if a parent has a monthly income of only $850 to $1,850 they qualify for a low- income exemption to the guidelines.
A parent can also request a deviation of the determined child support payment from the court. In order to be granted a deviation, a parent must prove to the court that the guideline worksheet amount is unreasonable because of an illness, disability, or other condition that makes it impossible to work full-time. It is important to note that not being able to afford optional expenses in the parent’s own life, such as for cable television or an expensive car, is not enough to qualify for a deviation in Colorado court.
Modifying Child Support Payments
Modification to child support payments is allowed in Colorado and can either be an increase or decrease in the payment depending on the change in circumstances. The parent requesting the modification must prove to the court that there is a substantial change in circumstances that merit the modification. Under Colorado law, this means that the change must be ten percent or more in either direction.
It is important to note that the ten percent rule applies not only to changes in income but also to other factors that may play a role in determining child support payments. For example, if the child custody arrangement is modified to allow the child 25 percent more time with the non- custodial parent, that would be covered under the ten percent rule.
What Happens if a Parent Doesn’t Pay Child Support?
If the paying parent stops making child support payments, they are in arrears. There may be several solutions to get a parent in arrears to stop being delinquent on their child support payments, and an experienced family law attorney will be able to provide guidance as to which is best for your situation.
The first option is to intercept windfall money, such as lottery winnings or tax returns, and give it to the custodial parent to make up the arrearage. The custodial parent can also file a motion to attach liens to the non-custodial parent’s bank accounts, property, and business. The state can also intercede and suspend the non-custodial parent’s driver’s license and report their arrears to the relevant credit bureaus.
Another option for a parent in arrears is to do an income assignment. This is when the state sends notice to the non-custodial parent’s employer, informing them of the arrearage. The employer then withholds the child support payment from the parent’s paycheck and forwards it to the Colorado Family Support Registry, where it is then sent to the custodial parent. An income assignment can also be placed on retirement benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, and most other forms of gross income.
It is important to note that child support payments in arrears cannot be discharged with bankruptcy. Even if all other debts are wiped away in bankruptcy, the non-custodial parent will still need to pay back the money owed in child support to the custodial parent.
Call the Office Today
If you have questions about child support in Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, or Jefferson Counties, Dawn Rodgers may be able to help. Rodgers Law LLC is one of the top child support law firms in the state and can zealously advocate for your child support needs. Call the office or contact Dawn Rodgers today to schedule a consultation of your child support case.