In simple terms, child support is an ongoing, periodic payment made for the benefit of a child following a divorce or separation, usually made from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. Colorado follows the “Income Shares Model” of support which estimates the total support amount that parents would spend on children in an intact family unit and splits the financial responsibility between the parents in proportion to their monthly incomes. While the guidelines are considerably complex and detailed, there are certain general principles which apply to most situations.
In Colorado, child support is calculated with consideration of the following factors:
- Each parent’s gross income: “Gross income” refers to most types of earned and unearned income, including wages, salaries, tips, bonuses, overtime, pensions, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and Social Security.
- Adjustments to gross income: Parents who receive alimony must add the amount received to their gross income, while paying parents similarly deduct this amount. Likewise, parents can deduct up to 75% of support payments received for natural or adopted children of other relationships living in the household.
- Additional expenses: Once basic support obligations have been calculated, parents are given the opportunity to add certain predictable and recurring expenses of work-related child care, the cost of adding a child to a health insurance policy, up to $250 of annual uninsured health care expenses per child, and any additional court-ordered expenses. These expenses are shared by the parents in proportion to their incomes.
- Imputed income: In the event that a judge finds that a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, he or she may estimate their potential earning capacity with consideration given to their work history, training, education, and available jobs in the area.
Child support obligations continue until a child’s 18th birthday, or until their 19th birthday if they are still attending high school full-time. While child support obligations are enforceable by law, they may be modified in the event that a considerable change in circumstances should present itself from the time the order was first issued.
Child Support Lawyer in Denver
If you are involved in any sort of child-support related dispute, the Denver family lawyers at Jones Law Firm, PC can provide the strong legal guidance you need to pursue a fair solution and ensure your and your child’s rights are protected. To find out more about how we can assist you, we invite you to contact our firm online or call us today at 303-799-8155.