Calculating Child Support
Family Law Attorneys Assisting Residents of Denver and Beyond
The Colorado Child Support Guidelines were adopted to make sure that a child whose parents are divorcing or splitting up receives a fair share of each parent’s income and financial resources. Generally, whichever parent does not have physical custody will need to pay support to the other parent, but the amount may also be affected by how many overnights the noncustodial parent spends with a child. The amount of child support will be specified in a court order. If you are concerned about calculating child support for your child, the Denver child support lawyers at Plog & Stein are here to provide knowledgeable assistance.
Understanding the Process of Calculating Child Support
Children are supposed to receive adequate financial and emotional support from both parents. Guidelines have been put in place in Colorado to make sure that kids get the same financial support that they would have gotten had their parents not gotten divorced. The court will decide the basic support to be paid by evaluating the monthly gross incomes of each parent in light of information about what spouses who have not divorced spend on their children.
The support is usually in the form of money transferred from one parent to the other. In cases in which one parent has primary physical custody, they will usually receive child support from the other parent. However, income is the key figure and there are situations in which one parent pays the other even though parenting time is equal or even though that parent has more time with the child. In most cases, the guidelines are followed, such that the parents ultimately share costs for childcare, medical insurance, special needs, and education. In order to obtain a deviation, you need to show a strong reason for the deviation. If your monthly gross income is particularly low, you might be able to get a low-income adjustment to the amount of child support ordered.
The guidelines for calculating child support are complicated and generally strictly adhered to. Though parents may create their own child support agreements, they need to be aware that the court has final authority. If you deviate from the guidelines too much, the court might not approve or your proposed agreement.
The guidelines utilize each parent’s gross income, including income from any source apart from child support payments, public assistance, voluntary overtime or a second job. Child support makes up a percentage of about 20% of both parents’ combined gross income for one child, with each additional child getting about 10%. Factors that the court may consider in awarding child support include the child’s standard of living had there been no divorce, the physical and emotional needs of the child, the custodial parent’s financial resources, and the financial resources available to the noncustodial parent. Though these factors may be mentioned in statute, the reality is that the straight guideline formula will likely be used. In addition to income, items such as childcare and health insurance might also go into a calculation. Recurring, specific medical and educational expenses might also go into the calculation.
Child support usually lasts until a child turns 19, though can run to 21 if a child is still in high school. Sometimes child support continues into adulthood because the child’s physical or mental disability renders them unable to support themselves. In some cases, it is possible for parents to discuss these issues informally or in mediation to figure out how they will continue to support a disabled or special needs child into adulthood. It may be helpful to have the counsel of an experienced attorney throughout these negotiations so that an appropriate result may be achieved for the child. In other cases, court intervention and litigation may be required for resolution.
Contact a Denver Lawyer to Discuss a Child Support Issue
Calculating child support may be a challenge, particularly if your circumstances are unusual or there is debate over complex or high income. At Plog & Stein, our Denver attorneys are sympathetic to our clients’ needs and provide diligent and tenacious advocacy to help them pursue their goals both during divorce and afterward. Our retainer rates are competitive. Contact Plog & Stein at (303) 781-0322 or via our online form to set up an appointment with a divorce attorney. We also represent people in Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, and Castle Rock, as well as other areas of Denver, Douglas, and Arapahoe Counties.