By: Jessica A. Saldin
A prior blog post of mine discussed recent, and upcoming, changes to the child support statute and its potential impact on Colorado family law cases. This blog post will discuss additional changes that I believe still need to be made by the Colorado Legislature to our family law statutes, for both clarity and consistency.
First, one glaring needed change regards voluntary unemployment considerations. Prior to the recent child support statutes, a parent could not be considered voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if they were caring for a child of the parties under the age of 30 months. However, one of the recent changes to the child support law was to change that age to 24 months. The maintenance statute has not been similarly changed. This could lead to disparate results in cases that involve both maintenance and child support. For example, if a parent is not working because they are caring for a 27 month old child, that parent could be imputed income for the calculation of child support, but would still not be imputed income for the calculation of maintenance. It is unclear whether this disparity was the intention of the legislature or simply an oversight. However, it is my opinion that it was likely an oversight that will be rectified. The child support statute basically indicates the legislature does not believe it is equitable for a parent to pay increased child support due to the other parent’s unemployed if the parties’ child is older than 2 years. It seems unlikely that the legislature would still find it equitable for a parent to pay increased spousal support (supporting the other parent, more than the child) when it is not equitable to pay increased child support under the same circumstances.