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Colorado Child Support 101

What is Child Support? As a Denver area divorce/custody attorney, allow me to answer that question. Child Support is the statutorily determined amount of money a person may pay for the support of his or her child. The amount is determined based on a number of factors, which are plugged into a formula stemming from Colorado Revised Statutes. Child Support is generally calculated using this statutory formula. The general information that goes into a Child Support calculation is: a) income of each party, b) number of children, c) number of overnights the non-custodial parent has if that number is more than 93 overnights per year, d) monthly health insurance cost for the child(ren), and e) monthly day care cost, if applicable.

The above stated five factors are all plugged into the formula (attorneys use special software, but there are also free software tools for people to use on the internet) and a number is spit out. In most instances, the court or judge will follow the C.R.S.14-10-115 statutory guidelines. A judge might deviate from guideline amounts in odd circumstances or if the parties agree to such. We will write more about Child Support in upcoming postings. For now, I will state some frequently asked questions, followed by “yes” or “no” answers:

1. Can I just quit my job to avoid paying child support? No. In such an instance, the court can use your income from the job you quit for calculation purposes.

2. Can I ask for an accounting of how my ex spends the money? No. Courts are not going to allow or require this and presume child support paid goes into the recipient’s general financial fund, to be used as deemed appropriate.

3. My ex has a BMW and a million dollar house, can I get more child support? No. Non-income producing assets have no bearing on child support.

4. My ex has moved in with rich plastic surgeon, can I lower my child support? No. New spouses’ or significant others’ finances are irrelevant.

5. Does my voluntary overtime count towards my income for calculation purposes? No.

6. My ex has two jobs, can we include all of his or her income in the calculation? No. Statute indicates that second jobs don’t count.

7. My kid’s about to turn 18, do I get to stop paying? No. Child Support generally goes to age 19 in Colorado.

8. If I stop paying my child support can they garnish my wages, get a judgment against me, take my driver’s licences, take my professional license, lien my property, seize my tax refund, add on 12% per year (compunded monthly) interest, or throw me in jail? YES, YES, YES!

This posting is Child Support 101 in Colorado. More to come for those who care to know.