Modifying Child Support: Substantial and Continuing Change

An existing child support order can be modified when there has been a substantial and continuing change in the children's or parents' circumstances. A change in circumstances that results in less than a ten percent change in the existing child support order is presumed to not be a "substantial and continuing" change and, under most circumstances, will not support a modification of the child support obligation. Changes that might give rise to a modification of child support include, but are not limited to:

•· Change in gross income of the parents;

•· Termination or modification of maintenance payments;

•· Emancipation of children;

•· Increases or decreases in the number of overnights the children spend with a parent;

•· New children;

•· Changes in child-related expenses (including changes in health insurance costs and child care costs); and

•· Factors that reduce the needs of the children (e.g. income of a child).

However, a child support obligation can be modified without demonstrating a substantial and continuing change if the existing order does not contain provisions regarding medical support or health insurance coverage for the children.

Hire and Experienced Longmont Attorney to Calculate a New Child Support Amount

Colorado has developed Child Support Guidelines and Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations that create a rebuttable presumption for the establishment and modification of the amount of child support. In the context of a modification of child support, the guidelines and schedule are used to determine: (1) whether an alleged change in circumstances results in a ten percent change in the current child support; and (2) the amount of the new child support obligation. Click here (link to CS page) for a discussion and explanation of the Child Support Guidelines and Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations.

Boulder Attorney Experienced in Retroactive Child Support and Effective Date of Child Support Modification

In addition to knowing if you can modify your child support obligation, it is important to understand when a child support modification will take effect. Generally, a modification of child support can be retroactive to the date the motion to modify child support is filed with the court. However, the trial court can decline to modify a child support order retroactive to the date the motion was filed if it finds the retroactive modification would cause undue hardship or substantial injustice. One exception to this rule permits the trial court to retroactively modify the obligation of the parent paying child support when there has been a mutually agreed upon change of primary physical residency of a child; under these circumstances, the trial court can modify the paying parent's child support obligation retroactive to the date of the mutually agreed upon change in physical custody.

Meet with an Experienced Boulder Child Support Modification Attorney

Thus, before seeking a modification of a child support order, it is imperative to analyze all changes in circumstances and understand how to apply the Colorado Child Support Guidelines and Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations. To schedule your free 30-minute initial consultation, email me or call 303-872-8041.