What You Need To Know About Child Support

Posted on March 29, 2018

Divorce or separation does not terminate the financial obligations a parent may have for biological or adopted children. There are several factors a court will look at in determining what, if any, child support will be paid by one parent to the other. When parents separate, the court will first determine the parenting time each parent will have with the children. This will include a determination on which parent the children will live with the majority of the time (primary custodial parent). Next, the court will determine the regular full-time income of each parent as well as what each parent is paying for the child’s health, daycare and extraordinary expenses. This information is used to determine the amount of child support one parent should pay to the other, as the children mature. In simple terms, child support is an ongoing, monthly financial obligation paid by one parent to the other for the financial benefit of a child. This amount serves as a parental contribution toward the child’s basic living expenses, such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education and is meant to keep the child in the same standard of living as would have existed if the parents had stayed together.

Frequently asked questions about child support

No legal advice is intended. If you have questions about your divorce, child custody, and/or child support, please contact Pollart Miller LLC at 877-259-5693.

How Do I Establish Child Support?

The appropriate action would be filed with the Court to start a divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities or paternity action. Then, the Court would order the parties to exchange financial information necessary to determine the appropriate child support amount. The parties will be ordered to mediation in an attempt to resolve all issues surrounding paternity, parenting time and child support. If the parties are not able to reach an agreement, the court will conduct a hearing and issue the appropriate orders.

How Long Do I Have To Pay Child Support For?

In Colorado, generally the obligation to pay child support continues until the child reaches the age of nineteen (19) or graduates high-school, whichever occurs later. Child support can terminate prior to then if the child emancipates. In special cases, when your child has special needs or is disabled and not able to be self-sufficient, the obligation to pay child support may continue indefinitely.

What Is The Formula For Calculating Child Support Payments?

There is no exact formula to calculate child support payments. In Colorado, calculating the child support obligation takes a number of factors in consideration. Factors include, gross incomes of both parents, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and ongoing costs like childcare and health insurance.

Do Stepparents Owe Child Support?

Unless a stepparent has adopted the child, which would terminate the biological parent’s legal rights, stepparents do not carry financial obligation to support stepchildren after a divorce.

I Lost My Employment Or Decided to Go Back To School. Do I Still Have To Pay Child Support?

The answer depends on the specific case. In general, if a parent left a full-time job and returned to school in a good faith attempt to obtain better employment, their child support obligations would likely be reduced. If they, however, became purposefully unemployed or took a lower paying job in an attempt to unreasonably reduce the support available to the child, the court will likely not reduce the amount of the child support obligation.

The court may consider temporary adjustments to child support if you become unemployed, take a pay cut, have large medical bills, or have some other qualifying circumstance. Because the change of this sort required a legal process, it is highly recommended that you contact a qualified family law attorney for advice on how to modify your child support obligations as soon as you know of the changes happening in your life.

My Ex-Spouse Does Not Let Me See The Kids. Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

No. Child support and parenting time are separate issues. In the cases when one parent is not honoring the parenting plan, the other parent should go back to court and seek to enforce the court order. Regardless of any parenting time issues that might occur, the obligation to pay the court ordered child support will remain until it is modified by a subsequent court order.

What Happens If Child Support Is Not Paid As Ordered?

Not making your child support payments on time and in full can result in future court action. You may be is seen as defying an order of the court and you could be risking sanctions which may include time in jail.

To stay in compliance with child support obligations where lowering the child support obligation is not an option, sometimes a change in lifestyle might be necessary. Creating a more realistic budget, reducing expenses, finding less expensive housing, getting a cheaper car or negotiating with creditors to lower your monthly debt obligation payments are just a few places you can start. While this may seem like a very extreme change in lifestyle, it may allow you to continue taking care of your children and minimize the risk of any legal complications.