While parents of minor children may choose to go their separate ways and sever financial ties, children of separated parents will continue to need financial help from both of their parents. The law in Colorado recognizes the importance that financial support from both parents has on the future success of children and is structured to provide that support to these children. In other words, child support is a statutory right of the child and is meant to be an ongoing financial obligation of both parents. Child support obligations initiated in Colorado will continue until the child reaches the age of 19, or is otherwise emancipated.
In Colorado, the Court will look at several factors when calculating the appropriate child support amount to order one parent to pay the other. The Court will look at the number of overnights that each parent has with the child(ren). In addition, the Court will look at each parent’s gross monthly income, costs incurred for the children’s health care insurance coverage, daycare expenses, extraordinary expenses incurred on behalf of the child(ren), and any non-joint children cared for by the parents. In some instances, if a parent is unemployed, and there is no mental or physical disability that would prevent that parent from working full time, the Court may find that the parent is voluntarily unemployed and the Court may calculate child support based upon what that parent is capable of earning, regardless of the actual income received.
Modification of the current child support obligation is warranted if there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that would result in more than a 10% change in the current monthly support obligation. The substantial and continuing change could be caused by several things including an increase or decrease in the number of overnights a child spends with one parent, an increase or decrease in the expenses related to the child (healthcare premiums, daycare expenses, etc.), or an increase or decrease in a parents income.
A parent’s gross income, for purposes of calculating child support, includes income from many sources and is not limited to just income from full-time wages. It includes, but is not limited to, funds received from commissions, bonuses, dividends, royalties, rental income, retirement/pension benefits, interest, annuities, social security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, monetary gifts, monetary prizes and expense reimbursements. Because of this, when establishing or modifying a current child support order, it is important to pay close attention to the factors that will impact the child support order and ensure your case is carefully presented.
Would you like to know more? Contact Denise M. Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-488-9586.