Colorado Child Support
A General Overview (Video)
Colorado Child Support Generally - Scrollable Video Transcript
Hi Everyone. I’m going to give a general overview here of child support in Colorado.
Now to get child support in the first place, you need to ask for it from the Court. And there are a few ways you can go about doing this:
You can ask for child support in a petition for a divorce or legal separation. FYI, Colorado replaced the term divorce with dissolution of marriage or a dissolution of civil union, although a lot of people still call it a divorce.
You can also ask for child support in a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities (APR) – this is a child custody action.
You can ask for child support in a paternity action which is filed to determine the identity of the father.
And finally, you can even bring an independent action for child support.
So the big question we have with child support is how much support am I going to get or going to pay. Keep in mind that in Colorado, child support generally continues until the child is 19 years old, not 18.
Now, there are many factors that go into determining the child support amount. And I’ll cover a few of the big ones here.
The first is the incomes of the parties, and this is done on a monthly basis, because child support is usually ordered on a monthly basis. Also, it’s generally the gross income, not the net income that gets counted. Now incomes can get complicated and messy because they can include bonuses, commissions, stock options, self-employment, dividends, rental income, regular gifts of money, and the list goes on and on.
Of course the number of kids involved count. The more kids you have, the more child support is involved.
Additionally, the number of annual overnights each parent has with the kids is very important to calculating child support. For example, if both parents have the same incomes, and have the same overnights with the children each year, then there is no child support if no other factors involved or if any other factors are shared equally.
So taking that example where the incomes are the same, if one parent gets more overnights than 50/50, then that parent gets child support. And the more overnights that parent has, the more child support that parent will get.
However, there is a 92 overnight threshold in Colorado. This means that unless one parent has at least 93 overnights, the child support will be the same, whether that parent has zero or 92 overnights, or anything in between. Only at 93 overnights, does the child support amount start to change. As you can imagine this becomes a sticking point in parenting time negotiations from time to time. The parent with the least amount of time tries very hard to get at least 93 overnights.
Now hold on here though, Colorado seems way to hung up on overnights. So, if I have the kids all day long every day, taking care of them from rise and shine to bed time, and the other parent only has the kids while they sleep, I have to pay the full amount of child support because I have zero overnights even though I’m doing all the work? Yep – Under the law, that’s technically true. However, all is not so bleak, because the judge has the ability to deviate from the child support calculations where it would be very fair to do so, and the judge would probably do so here.
Child care and health insurance costs for the kids are also taken into account. Whoever is paying for these costs is going to get an adjustment in the child support calculation. And there are other adjustments that can be made such as the child’s income, extraordinary costs, travel costs for parenting time, etc.
Once we know these numbers, we can apply them to the statutory Colorado child support guidelines to calculate the recommended child support order. Now, although it’s possible to do this by hand, specialized software is almost always used to create a child support worksheet that shows the child support calculation. I hope this video was useful and thank you for listening.