Child support in Colorado can be complicated. Each parent has the legal obligation to provide financial support for their children until a child reaches the age of 19, the child becomes emancipated by marriage, joins the military, or becomes self-supporting. Colorado courts no longer have the ability to order support for college expenses unless the parties agree.
When parents divorce or are unmarried the parent who does not live with their child can be ordered to pay child support. Child support may be ordered by the Colorado Court regardless of whether the child lives with the other parent or with a third party.
There are many factors included within the support guidelines, such as medical and dental insurance, special medical needs, child care expenses, and support for other children. Two factors the court will always consider are the respective gross incomes of the parties and the number of overnight visits. These two factors weigh heavily in the calculation.
The term “gross income” for the purposes of determining child support in Colorado can be deceptively simple. Many forms of income that you might not otherwise consider when you determine how much you make per year can be added into this calculation to increase a support obligation. Dividends, interest, rental income, trust fund payments are a few of the payments often overlooked. For military divorces, the calculation includes base pay plus all allowances including BOQ/BAQ and incentive pay. Furthermore, the fact that you deduct retirement savings from your pay does not exclude that money from the calculation.
The fact a parent may be receiving welfare payments or may be unemployed and without income does not, necessarily, mean they can use “0″ for their income. A court may impute income to that parents based on a variety of factors including previous work history.
Courts use a complex formula for the determination of child support in Colorado. Courts may adjust child support outside the state guidelines; however, most courts closely follow the child support guidelines absent a compelling reason for a variation.
Even though the Colorado legislature has laid out a formula for child support, parties still argue extensively over the numbers that go into the support calculation. So, while the child support formula was intended to simplify the process of determining child support, it remains a persistent source of conflict in Colorado family law cases.
You can calculate your child support obligation using the link to the attached spreadsheet.