Alter Family Law


Colorado Child Custody Lawyer


 “More Than Just Representation”

» Child Support Calculations

» Income Determination

» Connection to Custody

» Impact of Health Insurance

» Impact of Child Care

» Support Enforcement (and Defense) 

» Child Support Modification

» Child Support Deviation  

» Special Needs Considerations

» Retroactive Child Support

» Child Support Debt Interest

» Special Issues

We provide legal advice, help navigate the court system, assist in the calculation of child support, and represent your interests in court if needed. We provide all the assistance you may need concerning the issues below and more.

Generally, those who pay child support feel it’s too much, and those that get it feel it’s not enough.  So, you want to open your eyes going into this.


There are a lot of things the judge can look at, and some of them need to be looked at:

Incomes of Both Parents: The gross incomes of both parents are looked at. This includes wages, bonuses, commissions, regular cash gifts and any other sources of income.  To get at this, the parents have a financial face-off in court.  Tax returns, W-2s, pay stubs, bank statements, investment account statements – all need to be given to each other.  You have to let the judge know that you gave these to the other side, and if you don’t do it, you can get into a heap of trouble.  This trading of financial information with each other is called financial disclosures in court.  It’s an issue that a lot of parties fight about.  And the judge doesn’t have much patience for not doing what you’re supposed to do here.  Many times, the parties don’t even know that they’re doing anything wrong.  But with the sworn financial statements that need to be filed along with a certificate of compliance with Rule 16.2 disclosures, you can find yourself lost before you even start down that path.  Here is a form that shows you some of the things you need to give to the other side – Mandatory Disclosures Form.  We help you take care of all of this.

Parenting Time: The amount of time each parent spends with the child is crucial. The more parenting time one has, the more financial responsibility they may assume.

Childcare and Health Care Costs: The costs associated with childcare and health care for the child are factored in. This includes insurance premiums, co-pays, and any extraordinary medical expenses.

Additional Expenses: Other extraordinary expenses, such as educational costs or special needs of the child, are considered in the calculation.

Child Support Paid for Other Children: If either parent is paying child support for other children from a different relationship, it may affect the calculation.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony): If one parent is paying or receiving spousal maintenance, it may impact the child support calculation.

Extraordinary Costs: Any other extraordinary costs related to the child’s needs, like travel expenses for visitation, are taken into account.

It’s important to note that these factors are used in a formula outlined in the Colorado Child Support Guidelines to arrive at a fair and reasonable child support amount. The Guidelines provide a framework to ensure consistency and fairness in child support determinations while allowing for adjustments based on the unique circumstances of each case. Consulting with a Colorado child support attorney can help navigate these factors and ensure that your specific situation is appropriately considered.

How is Child Support Calculated in Colorado?

Colorado uses a formula that takes into account the factors listed above. The Colorado Child Support Guidelines provide a framework for this calculation.  Note that this provides a “recommended”, rather than a required support order.

Multiple Children with Different Schedules.  If there is a different parenting time schedule for multiple children (one schedule is different from the other), you should know that the usual way to calculate the overnight number is to add all the overnights together and then divide by the number of children.  So, if a parent has 200 overnights with one child and 100 overnights with another child, then that parent has 150 overnights with 2 children for guideline purposes. Regardless of the scenario, we will run the calculations for you.



Child support orders can be modified when there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. This change in circumstances must result in at least a 10 persent change in the monthly child support amount to be considred as substantial.  Examples include:

Income Changes:  A substantial change in either parent’s income. This can result from job loss, a significant increase or decrease in salary, a change in employment status, or other income-related changes.  Note that a job change can be voluntary or involuntary, and this difference can impact what happens with a child support modification request.

Change in Parenting Time:  Changes in the parenting time arrangement can impact child support. If the parenting time schedule significantly changes, it may affect the financial responsibilities of each parent, leading to a potential modification of child support.

Healthcare Costs:

If there is a significant change in the child’s healthcare needs or costs, this may be considered as a ground for modification.

Emancipation of the Child:

When a child reaches the age of 19 (unless still in high school) or becomes financially independent, it can be a reason for modifying child support.

Changes in Childcare Expenses:

If there are substantial changes in the costs associated with childcare, such as daycare or after-school programs, it may be a ground for modification.

Disability or Health Issues:

If there is a significant change in the health or disability status of either parent, it may impact their ability to work and earn income, potentially leading to a modification.

It’s important to note that child support modification requests are typically handled through the family court system, and the burden of proof generally falls on the party seeking the modification. Parents seeking a modification should provide evidence supporting the claimed change in circumstances. It’s advisable to consult with us for guidance on specific cases, as laws and procedures may vary, and legal advice tailored to the individual situation is crucial.


HOW ARE Incomes DETERMINED for child support IN COLORADO?

What income a party should use for child support purposes is often a disputed matter.  Gross incomes are generally used under Colorado law, and this can be quite concerning where it is far apart from one’s net income.  Income from any source must be included, which involves bonuses, commissions, tips, rental income, investment and interest income, expenses reimbursements, retirement and disability benefits, regular gifts of money and more.  Self-employment income raises special issues because certain business expenses can be deducted.  You must know what reasonably can be counted here.

Imputed Income:  In cases where a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may impute income based on the individual’s earning capacity. Potential income can be attributed to someone who is unemployed or underemployed who is found to be shirking child support obligations by unreasonably foregoing higher pay opportunities.  There are exceptions here as well.

Varied Income.  Sometimes a party makes different amounts in different months and different years.  Depending on the circumstances, an average can be taken for a period of time to come up with an amount that can either be agreed to or reasonably presented to the Court.  Recency also has an effect, so if it appears there is a trend toward the later months, the average may be weighted accordingly.

We can address any and all of your concerns in these areas.



Retroactive child support refers to child support payments that are ordered for a period before the formal child support order is established. In Colorado, as in many other jurisdictions, retroactive child support may be awarded under certain circumstances.  However, retroactive child support is not automatic, and the Court will decide whether and to what extent to provide it.

Back to the Filing of the Motion.  A motion for child support (or modification) may be filed many months before the Court issues a child support order.  Colorado law allows the Court to award child support to cover the time between the order and the date the motion was filed.

Back to the Date the Child was Born.  In a juvenile paternity action, the Court can award child support back to the date the child was born.

Back to When there was a Change in Parenting Time.  The Court can order retroactive child support back to the date that parenting time was changed either by agreement or a court order (up to 5 years).

We have seen some other law firm websites indicating other reasons for retroactive child support modification.  However, our experience is that Courts are reluctant to do so.


There are two general ways to go about enforcing your child support order:

Child Support Services.  Every county has a child support services department that assists in helping you collect child support.  Just do a web search for your county and child support services.  The upside to using these services is that they are very inexpensive and someone else is handling it for you.  Further, you may have more remedies available to you if you use these services.  The downside is that the process takes a long time.

File a Motion for Contempt for Failure to Pay Child Support.  You can do this on your own or retain an attorney, but you should know that there are very strict rules in this area.  Further, there are different types of contempt (punitive and remedial), and each have their own rules.