By Curtis Wiberg
If you’ve been ordered to pay child support for your children, it’s not an obligation you should get behind on. When it comes to ensuring that child support is paid, Colorado law is not messing around, and the consequences can be quite severe. Those consequences can range from complete financial ruin to the loss of your freedom, up to 180 days at a time. In Part 1 of this posting, I will touch on some of those consequences you might face. Part 2 will be reserved for the broader and more severe reach attorneys may have to enforce a child support order. I will also educate my readers regarding the long arm of the government as relates to child support debt. Sometimes you may have both the government and a private attorney coming after you. Again, the system as a whole takes child support seriously. You should, too.
The financial consequences alone for not paying child support can persist long past your children becoming adults. Under Colorado statute, your monthly child support obligation is treated as an individual judgment for every month in which it’s not paid. That judgment then allows the parent receiving support (the “obligee”) to execute the full range of collection options normally available to a creditor, as well as other options only available for support judgments.
Unlike other judgments that collect 8% annual simple interest, child support judgments collect 12% interest per year, compounded monthly. See C.R.S. § 14-14-106. Furthermore, the statute of limitations to collect on child support judgments is 20 years. It is possible, because of the compounding interest, for a person who only owes $200 per month and who skips out of paying child support for ten or more years, to end up owing over $100,000, even though the principal balance is a small fraction of that. In fact, we have litigated cases in which $100,000 or less in principal turns into $400,000 or more. Once that judgment is in tact, wages can be garnished up to 65% of the obligor’s after-tax income. This can be financially crippling to anyone, and the law generally doesn’t care. Continue reading