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Child Support

How Does the Court Determine Child Support in Fort Collins, CO?

Child support and child custody are arguably some of the most challenging aspects of a case. In Colorado, as in many parts of the United States, there are laws to ensure children have the financial support of an intact family. Whether parents are, or have been married, or have never been married, the law provides children with support from both parents. Child support is not for the receiving spouse but for the child’s basic needs. Having a lawyer who understands the law is invaluable in navigating the system and safeguarding your, and your children’s, best interest.

Before Letting the Court Decide

In Colorado, the courts prefer to defer to the parties in a family law case on anything that can be agreed upon. Courts prefer for you and your child’s other parent to work together and come to an agreement on custody and support you both find to be fair. Most of the time, a judge will sign off on an agreement between parents so long as it is in the best interest of the child. If necessary, you and your child’s other parent can attend mediation where an unbiased third party will help by hearing both sides to assist in finding what is best.

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Calculation of Child Support

Both parents have a legal obligation to support their minor children which is based on the child’s need rather than a parent’s ability to pay. Typically, the non-custodial parent will owe support to the custodial parent as the custodial parent is providing food, shelter, clothing, and day-to-day expenses for the child(ren). The important consideration is where the child would be financially if both parents’ income were combined as if the home were intact. Most states’ calculations take into consideration two significant variables: the incomes of each parent and the number of overnights each parent spends with the child(ren).

Child support is determined by Colorado statute. These guidelines take into consideration several factors that are entered into a formula designed to determine appropriate child support payments. These factors can include the following:

  • The best interest of the child;
  • The financial resources of the non-custodial parent (e.g. income, expenses, etc.);
  • The financial resources of the custodial parent;
  • The financial resources of the child;
  • The standard of living the child would have had if the home were intact; and
  • The physical and emotional condition/needs of the child including educational needs and medical expenses.

Modifying Child Support

Once an order for child support has been put into place by a court, it may be possible to modify the order to better reflect a parent’s, or a child’s, current situation. These modifications may occur if there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. For example, a child becomes emancipated and is no longer living with a custodial parent; your income, or the other parent’s, has changed significantly; or parenting time has changed. If these situations occur, we can help petition the court to modify the order. An attorney can also assess whether your change is substantial and continuing in the eyes of the law. A temporary loss of a job may be substantial but not continuous, for instance. A parent also cannot voluntarily reduce their income and then seek a modification. In these instances, the court may make calculations based on the earning potential of the parent.

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Other Child Support Considerations

Beyond the normal considerations for child support, we can help parents with other possible child support considerations. For instance, if a child may need support beyond the age of 18 due to a medical or physical condition that disables the child or the child is still in high school past 18 and is working.

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced family law attorneys takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. Our attorneys currently practice in Colorado, California, and Texas. Click the following link to view all of our family law locations. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

By Jessica Breckenridge, Esq.

Posted January 19, 2022

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