Many who are going through a divorce in Colorado will eventually ask the question about child support. Once custody is determined, then it is time to consider the child support policies currently in place in Colorado. The parent who has only part time, or sporadic, custody (non-custodial) is generally the parent responsible for sending child support payments to the full-time parent (custodial). Contrary to popular belief, both parents pay child support.
Applying for Child Support In Colorado
There are several ways that you can apply for child support in Colorado. All of the ways require some documentation. Make sure that when you apply (either online, in person, or via the mail) that you have the divorce decree, court’s ruling in regard to custody, as well as persona papers such as social security cards, driver’s license, and/or voter’s registration card.
In Colorado, there is a standardized chart that will tell you how much you will receive in child support (custodial parent), or how much you will be paying per month (non-custodial). In addition to the child support, the non-custodial parent is expected to also cover the medical expenses of the child. To get a quick idea of how much you could be paying, or receiving, you can go to the official state’s website and view the charts and calculators there: https://childsupport.state.co.us/siteuser/do/vfs/Frag?file=/cm:home.jsp
This child support will be paid until the child turns 19, or one month after leaving high school. There are some exceptions to this, for example, if the child is disabled and will not be able to ever become independent. The court will generally be called in to rule on this, with expert testimony given to verify that the child is, indeed, incapable of ever living independently.
How do they determine the amount paid?
There is a specific and very complicated formula that is used, but in a nutshell, the amount paid is based on the combined gross income of both parents for the last year. Generally speaking, the parent that makes the most money is the one that will be required to pay the most. Most do not realize it, but ANY money received into the household, either from the lottery, child support, even gifts of money, or gambling winnings count as income. However, anything related to social welfare, like food benefits, is left out of the gross income calculation.
If you are concerned that the non-custodial parent will not be forthcoming with his/her share of the child support payments, then you can petition the court to have the money come directly out of his paycheck each month, or if there is a concern over contact with this person, then the money can be sent to the state who will disburse a check to you, or be deposited onto a state sponsored card.
Is Child Support Ever Waived?
The short answer, here, is NO. There is no such thing as no income when it comes to child support. If you don’t have a job, you are still bringing in money on pensions, workers compensation and other benefits. In addition, the court will assign you a certain income based on your experience and it is up to you to make that amount of money so you can pay child support.
However, having said that, if you believe that the amount awarded is too punitive, or that it will cause a significant hardship, you can request a modification. You have to prove that it is a hardship and that your income has been impacted or changed by at least 10 percent due to your recent difficulties. Simply opting to take a lower paying job, quitting your job, or attempting to voluntarily reduce your income will be viewed with prejudice by the court system. If child support is not paid, it piles up, and can be tagged onto your tax returns, result in retention of lottery winnings, the suspension of a driver’s license and more. There is no way to avoid paying child support.