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.