Denver Child Support Lawyer
Proven Denver Child Support Attorney Ready To Serve You
Protecting Your Right to Fair Child Support Orders
When parents separate, determining child custody and parenting time arrangements is only part of the picture. Parents in a divorce or custody case also need to consider how to pay for the financial support of their children. Under Colorado law, both parents have a responsibility to financially provide for their children, which is ultimately reflected in court orders regarding child support. Colorado has specific requirements regarding what constitutes a fair amount of child support to be paid. In most cases, whether you reach an agreement or take your matter to trial, child support is going to be set based on the statutory guidelines set forth in C.R.S. 14-10-115. However, there are many other legal issues to deal with related to child support, including as relates to child-related expenses, how support will be paid, and enforcement of those orders. The Denver child support lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. can help with all of your child support needs and will fight for you to make sure you are treated fairly, both in and out of court.
Hire the Right Denver Child Support Lawyer
When it comes to the well-being of your children, there’s no room for error. We understand that as a parent, you want to give your children the best life possible. Part of that means making sure you are receiving, or paying, a fair and proper amount of child support. It also means helping our clients with all aspects of their child support cases, including:
- Establishment of Child Support
- Modifying Child Support
- Enforcement of Child Support Orders
- Dealing with child-related expenses
- Child Support Judgments
- Wage Garnishments
- Interstate Child Support Cases
Plog & Stein, P.C. always works with your best interests in mind, regardless of your circumstances. Our Denver child support attorneys have over 70 years of combined family law experience that we use in finding the best approach to the unique needs of your case. No matter the stage of child support matter, we understand the legal process and will be there to advocate for you by providing the intelligent and thorough legal assistance you need. With each case, our team will:
- Use our exceptional negotiation and litigation skills to work for the best possible outcome in your child support case, both in and out of the courtroom.
- Give you the dedicated attention and quality legal representation you deserve.
- Listen to your specific circumstances and develops a strategic and sensible plan for resolving your case.
- Utilize their years of family law and child support experience to make sure your case is handled effectively and efficiently.
- Honestly and appropriately advise you at every turn so that you can make intelligent decisions regarding how to proceed.
At Plog & Stein, we know the law and understand what’s necessary to zealously advocate for you, the client. Call our law firm today, or contact us online to speak with our legal team.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for your Child Support Case?
An experienced Denver family law lawyer can be an important asset during the entire child support process, not just in contentious cases. Colorado’s child support guidelines set strict rules on how much financial support parents must give, as both parents are responsible for the well-being of their children. Because the calculations and nuances for determining appropriate levels of support can be complex, it can be difficult for those unfamiliar with the legal system to determine what’s fair or the best course of action. Child support litigation entails more than just running numbers on a child support calculator. The numbers going into the calculation matter and litigation often arises regarding those numbers, such as income or appropriate expenses. If you and the other parent disagree on the terms of support, you should contact an attorney. While it is possible to represent yourself in court, you may find yourself at a disadvantage, especially if the other side has retained a lawyer. Our Denver, CO child support attorneys can also help you determine your best course of action, file a case if the noncustodial parent isn’t paying any or part of their ordered amount, and make sure you’ve met all state guidelines before submitting your agreement for approval.
How is Child Support Determined in Colorado?
Colorado has statutory guidelines, set forth in C.R.S. 14-10-115, to ensure that children receive an appropriate amount of financial support from their parents. The primary factors going into the child support calculation include incomes of both parents, as well as costs such as daycare and health insurance. Another significant factor impacting the monthly child support amount stems from the child custody arrangements and the overnight parenting time each parent has. There are other subtleties that can also affect the bottom line, such as children of other relationships or alimony received. In many cases, the parent with less visitation will likely be the one paying child support. However, in situations with great income disparity, it is conceivable that the custodial parent could end up paying child support to the other parent who has less, yet significant parenting time. Likewise, a 50/50 visitation schedule doesn’t mean there is no child support paid, unless incomes are very similar. It should also be noted that child-related expenses are generally split proportionate to the parents’ incomes, regardless of which one pays monthly support.
Child Support Laws in Colorado
How Long Does Child Support Last?
In Colorado, the legal obligation to support a child typically runs until age 19. However, if the child still attends high school, parents must make child support payments until graduation or age 21, whichever comes first. Child support obligations can also extend indefinitely, beyond age 19, if a child is unable to care for themselves due to a disability. Child support orders can also include provisions for payment of child care, health insurance, educational, travel, and medical costs. When formulating orders in your child support case, the experienced attorneys at Plog & Stein understand the importance of detail. Making sure you get the correct support agreement the first time can prevent the problems and costs that ambiguity may bring in the future. The statutory guidelines apply to families with combined adjusted gross incomes under $360,000 per year. Higher-income families going through a divorce or child custody case can anticipate a court looking at other factors enumerated in the statute which generally aren’t raised in the average child support case:
- Financial resources of the child
- Financial resources of the custodial parent
- Child’s standard of living if the parents did not dissolve their marriage
- Physical, emotional, and educational needs of the child
- Financial resources of the noncustodial parent
While some courts may be willing to calculate or extrapolate, a monthly support payment beyond the upper limits of the C.R.S. 14-10-115 guidelines, others may not. Each case is different from the other and your unique circumstances may have a bearing on the outcome in yours. Whether your case is simple or complex, we’re ready to help you through it. The only goal of the Denver divorce legal team in our law firm is to reach the best outcome for you, the client. Plog & Stein, P.C. has been helping clients since 1999, and we are familiar with all facets of the child support process. With clients throughout the Denver metropolitan area and the State of Colorado, we are familiar with the courts we work in and the procedures required to resolve your case. Each of our attorneys is equipped with the legal knowledge, skills, and experience needed to help you through this difficult time. Let us focus on the legal aspects of your family law case. Knowing you are well represented allows you to focus on the other things that matter in your life.
All Aspects of Child Support Litigation
The array of services the lawyers at our firm provide doesn’t stop at the initial establishment of your child support agreement. Knowing that child support orders will be in effect for many years, we offer a full range of related services. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with child support issues and has maintained many lasting relationships with our clients, over the years. After your initial orders enter, we will be there for you to provide the legal help you need related to the modification and enforcement of those orders.
Modifying Your Child Support Orders
C.R.S. 14-10-122 authorizes modification of child support orders based on changes in circumstances. Though modifications are ultimately concluded using the same Section 115 calculation, the specific standard is that there has been a “substantial and continuing” change which changes the current child support amount by 10% or more. The statute reflects the reality that over time, things change. Incomes and jobs, even careers can change. As children get older, changes to the visitation schedule can also have an impact. When these major events happen, we can help you deal with them as relates to child support. Modifications of child support are generally going to be applied retroactively to the date a Motion to Modify Child Support is filed. Though filing a motion is relatively easy, it may be months before your case is settled or goes to trial. As such, timing matters. If you believe your child support orders needed to be changed, don’t wait. Quickly seeking out the skilled legal help you need can have an impact on the amount you will ultimately pay or receive.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
When one parent owes child support and is employed, enforcing child support orders can be as simple as issuing a wage garnishment for the prospective child support to be paid. Funds will be taken out of the payer’s check and given to the recipient, generally through what is called the Family Support Registry. In some instances, arrears can also be included in a wage assignment (Income Withholding Order). In most cases, a wage assignment can be issued without even filing a motion with the court. Unfortunately, not everyone maintains a job, and some people refuse to work or just don’t work at all.
In addition to issuing an income withholding, and regardless of whether someone is employed, another effective tool to look into is the filing of a Verified Entry of Support Judgment. Child support orders are intended to be followed and will usually come with specifics, such as a monthly amount, how it will be paid, and a specific pay date, or dates. C.R.S. 14-10-122 sets forth that when a child support payment is missed, it becomes a monetary judgment. It also sets forth that that payment (judgment) starts accruing compound interest at the rate of 12% per year, with compounding occurring monthly. To effectuate or solidify converting the child support arrearages to a judgment, a verified entry of support judgment must be filed with the court. In addition to calculating the arrears, we also do a comprehensive interest a calculation. Interest in child support cases can accrue quickly and in cases with arrears that are several years old, the interest may be close to, or even exceed, the principal. Once the support judgment is entered, additional wages can be seized, up to 65% of the payer’s disposable income. Again, not everyone works. However, with the support judgment, assets such as bank or investment accounts can also be levied, meaning funds are frozen, then ultimately released to the recipient.
In cases in which the defaulting parent does not work, has no assets, or just elects to utilize all efforts to avoid paying, contempt of court may be the only viable option. Contempt will generally also be the most expensive avenue to pursue but does come with the potential for an award of attorney fees when remedial orders are entered. With a contempt of court motion, a jail sentence of 180 days is a possible outcome. The threat of jail can sometimes be a powerful tool to aid in enforcement.
When the payer lives out of state, other issues arise which may necessitate transferring the child support aspects of your case to that state becoming the best option. Though the payer is certainly, personally subject to Colorado’s jurisdiction, assets or income may not be reachable unless held or administered by companies which do business in Colorado. Likewise, though the payer would certainly be subject to Colorado’s jurisdiction in a contempt of court case and would face issuance of an arrest warrant for failing to appear, the reality is that no one is going to extradite him or her back to Colorado if ultimately arrested in the other state. Given the interstate challenges that can arise when the other party is out of state, sometimes we advise clients to do what can be done in Colorado, to be followed by registering the case in that other state for additional enforcement action.
Each county also maintains a Child Support Enforcement Unit, which can also assist in collecting back child support. At times, our attorneys work in tandem with the County related to child support issues. Having the County involved can be helpful in that places of employment can be tracked down, licenses (professional and drivers) can be suspended, income tax refunds can be seized, and holds can be put of passports until the arrears are paid off. However, the County will not calculate interest and can be slower than a private attorney in taking action. Moreover, the county may settle on lesser repayment terms than that which might be forced in a completely private setting.
Contact Our Denver Child Support Attorneys
No matter what type of legal assistance you need related to child support, the attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. are here for you. Our lawyers understand that this isn’t just a legal case for you; it’s your family and your future. In every case, we take time to learn about our clients’ circumstances and provide customized legal help that addresses their specific needs. Our lawyers are compassionate and experienced. Contact us today by filling our online contact form or calling our office to schedule a consultation with a member of the Plog & Stein team.
“Their service was outstanding, with prompt responses to all of my questions.” – Sandy