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Child Support

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Understanding Child Support in Colorado: Ensuring the Well-being of Your Children

Child support is a critical aspect of family law that aims to ensure the financial well-being of children whose parents are divorced, separated, or unmarried. In Colorado, child support laws are in place to provide for the needs of children and establish a fair and consistent framework for financial contributions from both parents. In this article, we will explore the details of child support in Colorado, including its purpose, calculation methods, enforcement, and the importance of seeking legal guidance to navigate this complex process effectively.

Purpose and Importance of Child Support


The primary purpose of child support is to prioritize the best interests of the child, ensuring that they receive adequate financial support from both parents to meet their essential needs. The financial contributions help cover expenses such as food, housing, clothing, education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. Child support also aims to promote stability and provide a consistent standard of living for the child, even after the parents' relationship has changed.

Child Support Calculation in Colorado - C.R.S. § 14-10-115

How much is child support in Colorado is determined using the "Income Shares Model." The Income Shares Model is based on the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have received if the parents lived together. The Income Shares Model considers several factors, including:

  1. Gross Income of Both Parents: The court considers the gross income of both parents before taxes, including wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, and other sources of income.

  2. Parenting Time: The number of overnight stays each parent has with the child affects the child support calculation. The more overnight parenting time a parent spends with the child, the lower (or higher) their child support obligation may be.

  3. Childcare Expenses: Childcare costs for daycare are taken into account when calculating child support. 

  4. Medical Expenses: health insurance premiums, and extraordinary medical expenses are taken into account when calculating child support. 

  5. Other Children: If a parent has financial obligations to support other non-joint children from a previous relationship, it may affect the child support calculation.

Modifying Child Support Orders

Child support orders are established as part of divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities proceeding. The court determines the appropriate amount based on the relevant factors mentioned above. However, circumstances can change over time, and modifications to child support orders may be necessary. Examples of significant changes include changes in income +/- 10%, healthcare expenses, or parenting time arrangements. It is essential to consult with a family law attorney to navigate the legal process for establishing or modifying child support orders effectively.


Enforcement of Child Support Orders

Enforcing child support orders is crucial to ensure that children receive the financial support they deserve. In Colorado, various enforcement mechanisms are in place, including wage garnishment, intercepting tax refunds, suspending driver's licenses, and placing liens on property. Failure to comply with child support orders can result in legal consequences, including fines, contempt charges, and even imprisonment.

Child support plays a vital role in securing the well-being and future of children in Colorado. It is a legal obligation designed to ensure that both parents contribute financially to their child's upbringing. Understanding the purpose, calculation methods, enforcement, and modification processes of child support is crucial for parents navigating the complexities of family law. If you are facing child support issues, consult with a reputable Denver child support lawyer to protect your rights and ensure the best interests of your child are upheld.

How Far Back Can Child Support Be Claimed


The answer to how far back child support can be claimed depends on whether this is the first time you’re seeking to establish child support or if you’re modifying an existing child support order. For more information, check out our article on How Far Back Can Child Support Be Claimed.

Where is Child Support on Tax Return

In Colorado, child support payments are neither tax-deductible for the payer nor taxable income for the recipient, and while child support itself doesn't directly impact tax returns, custodial parents may benefit from tax credits and deductions related to dependents, such as the Child Tax Credit and potential eligibility for the Head of Household filing status.

When Does Child Support End in Colorado

In Colorado, child support typically ends when the child reaches the age of 19. However, there are certain circumstances that can alter this general rule. If the child is still in high school at the age of 19 and is expected to graduate before turning 21, child support may continue until their graduation or until they turn 21, whichever occurs earlier. Additionally, child support can terminate earlier than the age of 19 if the child becomes emancipated, marries, or joins the military. It is essential to understand that each case is unique, and the court may consider other factors that could impact the termination of child support. It is advisable for parents involved in child support matters to seek legal advice and guidance from a family law attorney to ensure a clear understanding of their specific situation and rights under Colorado law.

At Creager Legal, we offer comprehensive child support solutions tailored to your unique circumstances. Whether you are seeking to establish an initial child support order, modify an existing order, or enforce compliance with a child support obligation, our skilled child support lawyer has the knowledge and experience to assist you. We work closely with you to understand your specific situation and provide personalized legal strategies that prioritize your child's best interests. Speak with our child support attorney  and find a child support attorney near me.

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Estimate your child support costs and payments during and after divorce with our free Colorado Child Support Calculator

Top Related Child Support Readings...

Child Support and Shared Custody: Exploring the Impact on Support Obligations

The division of parenting time and financial responsibilities can affect support obligations; highlighting the importance of understanding state laws, guidelines, and relevant factors when calculating support amounts in shared custody arrangements.

Enforcing Child Support Orders: Strategies for Collection and Enforcement

A practical guidance on the steps and strategies involved in enforcing child support orders to ensure timely payments. There are various enforcement options available, such as wage garnishment, income withholding, property liens, and legal remedies, empowering custodial parents with the knowledge and tools needed to pursue effective enforcement measures for the financial support of your children.

Unemployed or Underemployed Parents: Addressing Child Support Challenges

Child support obligations may be impacted when one parent is unemployed or earning below their potential. The article explores legal considerations, the concept of imputing income, and provides strategies to address the challenges faced by both custodial and non-custodial parents in such circumstances. It aims to provide guidance on navigating child support obligations when employment situations change, ensuring fairness and financial support for children involved.

  • What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
    Legal custody refers to decision-making authority, while physical custody relates to where the child resides. In Colorado, "custody" is referred to as the "allocation of parental responsibilities" (APR). APR refers to (1) parenting time, and (2) decision-making responsibility.
  • How to change jurisdiction for child custody?
    To change jurisdiction for child custody, you typically need to file a petition in the current jurisdiction, providing valid reasons for the requested change, and seek approval from the court.
  • Can parenting time be modified or adjusted?
    Parenting time can be modified or adjusted if there is a significant change in circumstances or if it is determined that the modification is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider factors such as the child's needs and the parents' ability to co-parent effectively when making a decision.
  • Can you lose custody for not paying child support?
    Yes, you can potentially lose custody for not paying child support, as failure to fulfill financial responsibilities may be seen as neglecting the child's well-being and can be grounds for a change in custody arrangements.
  • Do I need a lawyer for child custody?
    While it is not mandatory to have a lawyer for child custody cases, consulting with a family law attorney is highly recommended to understand your rights, navigate the legal process effectively, and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
  • Why do I pay child support with 50/50 custody?
    Even with 50/50 custody, you may still be required to pay child support if there is a significant disparity in the incomes of the parents or other factors considered by the court to ensure the child's financial well-being.
  • How does relocation or moving to another state impact existing custody arrangements?
    Relocation can significantly impact custody arrangements, often requiring court approval or modification of the existing order.
  • Should co-parents spend time together?
    Co-parents should spend time together if they can maintain a respectful and cooperative relationship for the benefit of their children's well-being, but it's essential to prioritize the children's needs and avoid it if unresolved conflicts or emotional distress are involved.
  • Who pays attorney fees in child custody cases?
    In child custody cases, the party responsible for paying attorney fees is typically determined by the court and may vary depending on the specific circumstances and laws of the jurisdiction.
  • Can you lose custody for child endangerment?
    Yes, child endangerment can be a significant factor in child custody cases, and engaging in behavior that puts the child's safety at risk may lead to the loss of custody rights.
  • Can you get custody of a child that's not yours?
    Obtaining custody of a child who is not biologically yours may be possible through legal means, such as adoption or obtaining guardianship, depending on the specific circumstances and the laws in your jurisdiction.
  • How to fight false allegations in child custody?
    To fight false allegations in child custody, gather evidence, maintain clear and open communication with legal representation, and work with your attorney to present a strong defense in court.
  • Can I fight for custody from another state?
    Yes, you can fight for custody from another state, but it can be legally complex, and it's essential to understand the relevant laws and seek legal counsel.
  • How long does a custody hearing take?
    The duration of a custody hearing can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the number of witnesses and evidence presented, and the court's schedule, but it typically lasts anywhere from a few hours to several days.
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