A separation between parents is rarely simple. Aside from the emotional toll this can take on a family, there’s more to worry about than simply child custody and the specifics of parenting time arrangements. In reality, it’s important that separating parents agree on how they’ll pay for and financially support their children moving forward. According to Colorado law, financial responsibility for children belongs to both parents. As such, this standard is reflected heavily in court orders relating to child support. However, you might be wondering what the state of Colorado considers a fair child support payment.
Generally speaking, no matter if you come to an agreement or opt to take the decision to trial, child support will be determined based on CRS 14-10-115 and the statutory guidelines it sets forth. Still, the process of determining child support often doesn’t end there. Child support is far from a straightforward issue during separation, and several legal issues will need to be handled, including:
This is only the start of why you should turn to the child support lawyers at Johnson Law Group if you’re ever going through a separation involving children. When you work alongside the expert attorneys at Johnson Law Group, we’ll fight to ensure that you receive the fairest possible outcome. We’ll work to have you treated fairly during the legal process, inside and outside court. You shouldn’t be required to make payments that are outside your reasonable means.
As was mentioned, child support outcomes in Colorado depend on several factors. According to state law, courts are instructed to award all parties with child support in fair amounts; this depends on the circumstances of the individuals involved and the interests and needs of the children in their care. To determine a child support award, the family law courts of Colorado will account for a variety of factors, including:
Despite the standardized child support guidelines, Colorado family law courts may opt to deviate from them if the circumstances of the separation and parties involved merit doing so. Unfortunately, this is far from a rare scenario, and several separating couples in Colorado face these adjustments. Therefore, although the state’s guidelines are the starting place, they’re not the only factors used to determine child support. This is important to keep in mind, as without a family law attorney, these deviations are less likely to occur in your favor. Whenever you need to determine child support payments or make adjustments, you need to consult an experienced Denver child support lawyer.
When the welfare of your children is a factor, it’s important not to hire just any child support attorney. Instead, you should be working with a lawyer who can ensure the best possible outcome for your family. As a parent, it’s fair to assume you’ll want to give your children the best possible life. After parents separate, this “best possible life” becomes partly dependent upon the amount of child support you are either paying or receiving. If this amount is fair, the transition will be smoother for your family, including any children involved.
There isn’t just one factor in determining child support amounts. Instead, several areas have the potential to be addressed. When you hire a skilled Denver child support lawyer, they’ll account for the following factors, as necessary:
Whenever you’re going through the complicated process of determining child support, it’s vital that you have an experienced Denver child support attorney at your side. You should always have a lawyer with you throughout the entire child support process, rather than simply during contentious cases.
In Colorado, child support laws are strict but not set in stone. Based on the state guidelines, both parents are considered to share responsibility for their child’s well-being—including financial responsibility. If you lack familiarity with the legal system, you may grow overwhelmed or confused by the various calculations and nuances of determining child support levels. This can be a complex process to navigate, and without an expert to support you, it can become challenging to determine the best course of action or even to determine what a fair support level should be.
If all you do is run the numbers through a child support calculator, then you’re not getting the complete picture of child support litigation. It’s common for litigation to arise regarding those very numbers, such as appropriate expenses or income.
As soon as you and the other parent disagree on how to tackle child support payments, it’s time to consult an attorney. If you choose to represent yourself in court, you’re putting yourself at a considerable disadvantage, increasing your chances of a less than fair outcome—this is especially true if the other party is working with a lawyer. An expert Denver child support lawyer will be able to decide your best course of action, file a case whenever the noncustodial parent is failing to adhere to child support agreements, and ensure that you’ve met all Colorado state guidelines before submitting your agreement for approval.
In Colorado, both parties are responsible for financially supporting their child. According to the statutory guidelines established by CRS 14-10-115, the child must receive an appropriate amount of support from both parties. In determining just how much each parent pays in support, the court must account for several factors. This includes the individual incomes of both parents, as well as other important costs, such as health insurance and daycare, if necessary.
The amount paid by each parent is also partly reliant on child custody arrangements and the amount of overnight parenting time each party possesses. A variety of other subtleties can impact how much each parent pays monthly in support, such as alimony or children of other relationships.
Much of the time, the parent with lower visitation rights will be the party that pays child support. On another hand, if the situation involves substantial income disparity, the custodial parents can be tasked with paying child support to the other parent if that other parent is struggling financially and has some amount of visitation time.
Notably, even in the case of two parents with equal visitation, there isn’t a guarantee that no child support will need to be paid. If there is a difference in income, then it’s likely that the higher-earning parent will be required to pay child support to the lower-earning parent. Generally speaking, child-related expenses will be divided proportionate to the income of each parent, no matter which party is paying monthly support.
In the state of Colorado, a parent will be legally obligated to continue paying child support until the child turns 19. If that child is still attending high school at the time of this birthday, then that parent will be required to pay support either until the child graduates or until they’re 21 years old.
However, in the cases of children with severe disabilities, child support obligations can continue past age 19, as necessary. There is no cap on how long these obligations can last in terms of the child’s age.
While the court retains the final say on the matter, it is possible for parents to decide against child support in Colorado. For example, if both parents agree that neither will be paying a monthly sum in child support costs, then the court may waive any obligation. Typically, this occurs in situations where both parents have a similar income and equal visitation.
Worth noting is that while parents who relinquish custody of the child aren’t required to pay support, it is not acceptable to end parental rights solely to avoid child support payments. In the eyes of the court, the parent trying to relinquish parental rights will likely be refused.
Sometimes, the court may disagree that child support obligations should be waived, even if this is agreed upon by both parents. At the end of the day, the court prioritizes the child’s well-being, which impacts any decisions on child custody, visitation, and child support. If a parent relinquishing child support obligations isn’t in the child’s best interest, then the court is unlikely to allow it.
Thanks to CRS 14-10-122, parents have the right to seek a modification to child support costs if there’s ever a change in circumstances. For example, if the parents have faced a “substantial and continuing change,” and if that change results in the parent requiring a 10% or more adjustment to support payments, then a modification may be allowed.
As time passes, life can change, and financial situations can shift. This is acknowledged within the aforementioned statute. Changes to income, job, or career are possible over time. In addition, as a child ages, the visitation schedule may change, which could impact child support payments. Whatever major event you’re facing, an experienced child support lawyer can help you seek a modification to your current support order.
Whenever a motion to modify child support is filed, modifications will typically be applied retroactively to that date. The filing process might seem simple, but it’s important to remember that it can take months for your case to settle or go to trial. As soon as you believe that a modification is necessary, don’t wait to begin the process. Seek out expert legal help as soon as you can to see a higher likelihood of your modification being granted.
Although the child support laws set forth by Colorado are strong and detailed, it isn’t always the case that a parent will adhere to them. Unfortunately, in some instances, a parent may attempt not to meet their child support obligations. If a parent is regularly making late or partial support payments, or if a parent is outright refusing to pay support, legal action is encouraged.
When you hire a Denver child support enforcement attorney, you’ll receive guidance on how to best approach the situation. However, regardless of the circumstances, you are entitled to fair and adequate financial help from the other parent. Otherwise, the child could be negatively impacted, and their quality of life could be harmed. This isn’t acceptable, and the courts indeed take matters like these seriously.
Some potential remedies during child support enforcement are:
Under Colorado law, noncompliant individuals can accrue an interest rate of 12% per year on unpaid child support—this sum is compounded monthly.
Are you in the Denver, Colorado, area and in search of an expert child support attorney? Then you’re in luck: The family law lawyers at Johnson Law Group, LLC, are ready to aid your case. Whether you’re dealing with establishing, modifying, or enforcing child support, we have the necessary experience to help you receive the fairest outcome. So, give us a call at 720-463-4333, or contact us to set up your consultation.