In Colorado, both parents must contribute to child support, though the amount paid and who pays it is based on the parents’ income and time spent with the child. The parent that cares for the children less than 50% of the time usually must pay child support to the other parent for the benefit of the children. Unfortunately, there are many cases when a parent ordered to pay child support fails to comply, leaving the burden of enforcing the child support order to the other parent. This can lead to bitterness and hostility between parents who may have other issues between them as well. Like other court orders, child support orders can be enforced.
Child support enforcement remedies include court actions and administrative actions, but you can only enforce a child support agreement that is part of a court order. For example, if you have informally separated from your spouse and verbally agreed that he will pay financial support to the children, you cannot enforce that. Assuming that you have a court order, the most common enforcement method is probably filing a motion for contempt with the court that ordered your ex-spouse to pay child support.
Contempt can be punitive or remedial. Punitive contempt asks the judge to sentence the other parent to jail or impose a fine regardless of whether the parent catches up on overdue payments. You will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the other parent could have paid child support, but refused to do so, and so this is best reserved for truly egregious cases. When you ask for remedial contempt, you ask the judge to place the parent in jail unless he or she pays some or all of the child support that’s owed. This is a way of forcing the other parent to pay.