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Articles Posted in Child Support

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courtroom-144091__340-224x300By:  Jessica A. Bryant

For many people in the midst of a divorce or custody case, it may be the first time they have ever been to court.  One looming question many people have is what to expect when attending a family law hearing– a large part of which includes what questions they may be asked when testifying.  This series of blog posts will explore potential questions you may face during a hearing on your Colorado family law case, with segments being presented by subject matter.

This Part 1 will focus on what questions may be asked in a hearing on maintenance (spousal support) and/or child support.  Part 2  will focus on what questions may be asked during a hearing on child-related issues (decision-making and/or parenting time).  Part 3 will focus on what questions may be asked during a hearing on issues of property/debt allocation, attorney’s fees, and other miscellaneous questions that may be presented.

For a hearing regarding spousal support and/or child support, one main point of focus will be each party’s income.  Therefore, many of the questions you may face during such a hearing will be on your income.  If you are employed some of the questions may be as follows: Continue reading

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Child support in Colorado is based off of worksheet calculations (governed by specific guidelines/formulas set forth in the statute, 14-10-115). One factor that impacts child support calculations is the number of overnights each parent has with the children. For many cases, all children are on the same schedule. In those situations, you take the number of scheduled overnights each parent has with the children and enter such onto the worksheet. However, in many other cases, one schedule may not work for all the children. The question then becomes, how do you calculate child support when the children are on different schedules? Before reviewing the situations below, there are a few definitions that will be helpful:

 

 

  1. Primary care/custody is when one parent has less than 92 scheduled overnights per year with the children. This is commonly referred to as a “Worksheet A” situation.
  2. Shared care/custody: This is when both parents have more than 92 scheduled overnights per year with the children. This is commonly referred to as a “Worksheet B” situation.

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calculator-300x200By:   Stephen J. Plog

In Part 1 of this article, I analyzed the generalities of how bonus and commission income are treated in Colorado child support cases.   To recap, bonus and commission income are specifically enumerated in Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-115 as income which can be included in a child support calculation.   I also discussed various issues tied into what courts might do when including a person’s bonus or commission income to derive their overall income, which included discussions regarding averaging bonuses and commissions over a sensible term of years to come up with an average.    In this Part 2, I will focus on bonus and commission (hereinafter referred to as “B & C”) income, including potential strategies for negotiating or litigating spousal support cases when these types of incomes apply.

The legal analysis for what would be included as income in a Colorado alimony case, pursuant to C.R.S.14-10-114, is essentially identical to the analysis applied in a child support case.  However, as a Denver alimony attorney for almost two decades, it is my opinion that both parties and courts can be much more creative with alimony (maintenance) orders tied into bonuses and commissions.   Thus, there is more potential for sensible and fluid arrangements regarding spousal support, as opposed to child support orders, which are almost always going to be reflective of strict adherence to the C.R.S. 14-10-115 child support guidelines. Continue reading

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calculator-300x200By: Stephen J. Plog

In the vast majority of Colorado divorce or custody cases I have litigated over the years, child support is an issue to be resolved.   Child support is calculated based on a statutory formula, with the primary variables being the income of each party, the number of children, the number of overnight visits per year for each parent, and lesser items such as monthly health insurance premiums or day care costs.   As one might imagine, people can argue over almost anything, including each of these variables that going into the calculation, but for the number of children.   In most cases, the primary variable being argued over is income.    Aside from arguments regarding someone being unemployed or underemployed and the amount of income that should be attributed to them, battles can arise over forms or types of income.    This includes arguments regarding bonus and commission income which one might earn above and beyond their base salary.   Contrary to common belief, bonuses and commissions are income for calculating child support pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-115. Continue reading

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naptime-1314183By:  Sarah T. McCain

At the commencement of the New Year, various revisions to Colorado child support statute came into effect. Changes to the ability to claim a non-joint child on the child support worksheet was covered in a prior blog post.  The other revisions to this statute, while seemingly small in nature, should be reviewed to ensure that they are properly addressed. If they apply to you, it is important to take advantage of these changes.

When you are putting together a Separation Agreement or custody stipulation and child support is at issue, you will find yourself putting together a child support worksheet. This worksheet will provide you with an end figure that is the proposed amount to be paid on a monthly basis. A Court will follow this figure closely but there are avenues for change to the bottom line monthly amount. Colorado Revised Statute, Section 14-10-115(8)(e) covers deviations from the child support guidelines. Prior to January 1, 2017, the language covering this allowed for specific deviations as stated as follows: Continue reading

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By: Stephen J. Plog

10-0-1241769Over the last several decades, divorce rates have increase significantly from those in the 1970’s or 80’s. As divorce has become a more common life event, including in Colorado, social phenomena have also changed. Going back to childhood, we all remember the TV staple, classic, the Brady Bunch. Mike brought “three boys of his own” to the equation. Carol brought “three very lovely girls.” Perhaps the first prime time “blended family” materialized.  Of course, the Brady’s were television and we all live, operate, and deal with the law in the real world. Often times, with the blended family, comes a new child, or children. Mike, Carol, nor anyone else other than those involved in a family law case likely ever stopped to ask about the ramifications of the blended family and new children as relates to the issue of Denver child support.

Having practiced as a Denver area child support attorney for many years, I have fielded various assumptive questions from clients related to child support and changed life situations. Two of the most common are whether a new spouse’s income gets included in a child support calculation, which it does not, and whether people can include or derive a benefit from new children. With the second question, the answer has changed multiple times. Starting January 1, 2017, it will change again.

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By: Curtis Wiberg

empty-pocket-1-1536707In Part 1 of this article, I wrote generally about the consequences of not paying Colorado child support. In this Part 2, I will discuss in more detail what a private attorney can specifically do to enforce a child support order, including contempt, garnishments, judgment liens, and garnishment of bank accounts. As I emphasized in the last article, if you’ve been ordered to pay child support for your children, it is not an obligation you should get behind on because the consequences can be severe.

The most commonly used enforcement technique when child support is not paid is contempt of court, pursuant to Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 107.  Under Rule 107, consequences can include up to a 180 day jail sentence and/or a fine for every child support violation.  These are called “punitive sanctions” and are designed to purely to punish for noncompliance.   “Remedial sanctions” can also be sought as part of contempt proceedings, including the paying of attorney fees.  With remedial contempt, there is still the possibility of jail if the court determines an obligor continues to violate the child support order while having the present ability to pay it. Continue reading

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By Curtis Wiberg

batch-of-dollars-1239377If 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

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By: Jessica A. Bryant

stock-illustration-37056990-usa-mapAs seasoned family law attorneys, we see various intricate issues which arise in Denver area divorce, custody, and child support cases. This can include issues related to interstate and multi-state jurisdiction. In today’s mobile society, it is not uncommon for both parties and the child(ren) to move out of the state that entered the initial child support order before the child becomes an adult. When a party leaves the state that entered the initial child support order, and moves to Colorado, several questions arise, most importantly: can Colorado enforce my child support order, can Colorado modify my child support order and, if Colorado enforces and/or modifies my child support order, which state’s law applies?

Enforcement

Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 14, Article 5,  Colorado can enforce a child support order entered in another state. One way such can occur is if an income-withholding order is sent to a Colorado employer. In that case, provided the technical requirements of an income-withholding process are followed, the Colorado employer must comply. The benefit of this enforcement remedy is that the child support order does not first have to be registered in Colorado before the income-withholding is pursued. A party can also register the child support order in Colorado for enforcement. As registration for enforcement requires the filing of a Petition, with specific requirements, along with a certified copy of the child support order, it is recommended you seek the assistance of an attorney to ensure the order is properly registered. Once a foreign (out of state) child support order is entered, an wide array of remedies become available for those seeking to enforce and collect.

Modification Continue reading

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By: W. Curtis Wiberg

As part of a Denver divorce or custody case, the Court may be asked to make determinations concerning child support and alimony (spousal support). The most significant consideration in these determinations is each party’s income. While it is often easy to just look at the most recent paychecks or W-2 of each party and plug those numbers into the child support and/or maintenance guideline calculations, when one party is not working, not working full-time, or not working at an employment/income level that is consistent with his/her capabilities, the income issue becomes much more interesting and complicated. Experienced attorneys will understand the intricacies that come when determining and proving income of in some cases.

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