- How is Child Support Determined?
- Imputed Income for Child Support
- Modifying Child Support
- Colorado Child Support Enforcement
Determining the amount of child support each parent pays in a divorce involves much more than plugging numbers into a formula. At Shapiro Family Law, we understand the complexities involved in child support cases because we help parents who find themselves on either side of the equation. Whether you need to receive child support payments or you must pay them, we can help.
- Determining income;
- Determining the proper amount of child support;
- Determining which expenses are included in a calculation;
- Modifying child support orders;
- Enforcing child support orders; and
- Establishing paternity.
We take into consideration the unique factors in your case to assist you in getting the financial support you need to take care of your child or to ensure you are paying your fair share of child support.
How is Child Support Determined?
Colorado bases its child support guidelines on an income shares model. With this model, children receive a share of their parents’ total incomes as they would have had their parents stayed together. The model uses a number of factors to calculate the monthly amount of child support. These factors can include:
- A combination of the parents’ monthly gross incomes;
- The number and ages of children involved;
- Any children not of the marriage;
- The number of overnight per year the child has with each parent;
- Child care costs;
- Health insurance costs; and
- Educational costs;
- Income of the children.
While Colorado courts provide worksheets for estimating child support, calculating your payments can become confusing, especially when you do not receive your monthly income from a conventional source. For instance, complications can arise when parents receive income from:
- Public assistance;
- Social Security Disability Income (SSDI);
- Social Security retirement;
- Unemployment insurance; and
- Workers’ compensation.
For example, consider disability income. Often a parent who receives social security disability income also receives a monthly payment on behalf of his/her child. In calculating child support, one must determine which parent receives the child share of the benefit, which parent has the majority time with the child and which parent is disabled; it is not necessarily considered “income” to a parent.
We can assist you in properly calculating your child support amount. Our law firm understands the importance of paying court-ordered child support, but we also look out for our clients to make sure they can still financially support themselves and afford to make payments.
What if you share custody? Read about it here: Joint Custody Child Support
Imputed Income for Child Support
In some cases, parents quit their jobs or take lesser-paying jobs to shirk their duty of paying child support. In these instances, Colorado’s statutes allow the court to credit-or “impute”-income to the parent based on the potential income he or she could earn. Then, the court can calculate child support payments based on the parent’s potential income.
For instance, if the court finds that a parent quit a steady job paying $70,000 a year in favor of a job that pays $40,000 a year to avoid paying a higher amount of child support, the court can impute income based on the $70,000 salary. The court would then calculate the amount of child support based on the income the parent could earn instead of the income they are currently earning.
We can speak with you about imputing income if your child’s parent stopped working or deliberately reduced their earnings.
Modifying Child Support
You may request a modification to your divorce decree or child support agreement because of changes taking place in your life which result in a change of 10% or more in the support paid. Colorado courts allow a child support order modification only in cases of a major, continuing change in a parent’s circumstances. Qualifying changes that may occur in a parent’s life include:
- A paying parent’s job loss;
- A paying parent’s substantial increase in income;
- A paying parent’s terminal illness;
- A change in the child’s medical costs because of an unexpected medical condition; and
- A change in the number of overnight stays a child spends with the non-custodial parent.
Under state law, you must be able to show that your life changes will impact your child support payments by at least 10 percent. Otherwise, the court is unlikely to grant a modification.
Because modifying a child support agreement requires the court’s approval as well as the other parent’s approval, this can easily become a complicated situation.
If you experience a substantial change in your life, you may petition for a modification on your own. However, we recommend that you speak with us prior to making your request to the court. We can help you calculate your percentage of change and offer our advice on whether the court is likely to grant your request. We may also be able to help you negotiate with your child’s other parent to allow the change.
Want more information? Colorado Child Support Modification
Colorado Child Support Enforcement
Custodial parents feel the financial strain when the non-custodial parent does not make monthly child support payments. Parents who have legitimate reasons for failing to meet their monthly payment obligations usually notify the other parent and ask for a modification of the child support agreement. Parents who simply refuse to pay without providing a reason should expect to face consequences from Colorado’s Child Support Services (CSS).
As a way to collect current and past due child support payments, CSS uses enforcement remedies, including:
- Driver’s license suspension;
- Denial of a passport;
- Suspension of a professional occupational license;
- Interception of state or federal taxes;
- Wage garnishment;
- Liens on bank accounts, personal property, real property, and motor vehicles; and
- Reporting to credit bureaus.
CSS can also ask the court to find the parents in contempt of court for repeatedly missing child support payments. Non-paying parents also risk jail time and court fines.
Contact Shapiro Family Law Today for a Legal Consultation.
Shapiro Family Law works hard to obtain a fair child support order for both parents that adheres to state guidelines. You can depend on our accomplished attorneys and legal team to provide compassionate counsel and results-oriented representation. Call us at 303-695-0200 to meet with a child support attorney in Denver.