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How Does Colorado Determine Child Support?

In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or allocation of parental responsibilities (custody or paternity), courts can require parents to pay child support in an amount reasonable and necessary for the child’s support. Colorado has developed Child Support Guidelines and a Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations that create a rebuttable presumption for the establishment and modification of the amount of child support. In determining the amount of child support, trial courts consider a number of factors, including:

  • The combined gross income of the parents
  • Maintenance paid or received
  • The number of children
  • The number of overnights with each parent
  • Whether a parent has other children
  • Expenditures for child care and health insurance, extraordinary expenses
  • The financial resources of the child (such as the income of a child)

If a parent is not employed to full capacity and is unreasonably foregoing higher paying employment that he or she could obtain, courts can base the child support obligation on that parent’s potential or imputed income. However, Colorado family law courts will not impute income to a parent if:

  • The parent is providing care for a young child (under thirty months).
  • The parent has temporary employment reasonably intended to result in higher income in the foreseeable future; good faith career choices that do not unreasonably reduce the support to the child.
  • The parent is enrolled in an educational program reasonably intended to result in higher income.

The inclusion or exclusion of a source of income from a parent’s gross income for child support purposes has a significant impact on the resulting child support amount.

Providing Advice On Deviation From Child Support Guidelines

Courts have the authority to deviate from the basic child support obligation if the amount of the child support is inequitable, unjust or inappropriate, taking into consideration extraordinary medical expenses, extraordinary costs associated with parenting time, the gross disparity in income between the parties, ownership by a parent of a substantial nonincome producing asset and overtime pay. Calculating support involves much more than simply putting numbers or figures into a spreadsheet. Rather, the establishment, modification, enforcement and termination of child support requires a detailed factual, financial and legal analysis.

Learn More From A Child Support Attorney Today

Contact me at Tucker M. Katz, Attorney at Dietze & Davis, P.C., for analysis and explanation of your child support rights and obligations. If you have questions about whether income imputation is a possibility in your case, call me at 303-872-8041 or send me an email to set up your free initial consultation.