A divorce between parents of minor children in Colorado must be taken through parental responsibilities planning, or custody agreements before being finalized. Parental responsibilities include decision-making power, child support payments, and parental time. Each state has its own laws governing the financial support a spouse is supposed to pay the other in specified time intervals for the support of minor children. Consider consulting a specialist lawyer for help with Colorado child support cases.
What you need to know about child support in Colorado
In child support cases, the court’s basic task is to calculate the amount of money the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent in child support. This is regardless of whether or not the two parties share some parental responsibilities. The court determines who the custodial parent is by looking at who the child lives with or spends most of the time with. Child support amounts are determined based on the parents’ incomes, the child’s living standards while the parents were together, the child’s needs, and how much time the non-custodial parent spends with the child.
As a non-custodial parent, you will be required to make the payments up until the child’s 19th birthday. Instances where you may have to make child support payment beyond the age of 19 include if the child hasn’t completed high school by the time they are 19.
Colorado and 38 other states in the US use the income shares model to calculate child support.
Child support calculations using the income shares model
This model is based on the principle that a divorce should not impact a child’s life, at least financially. The court works to award the child the same proportion of parental income they did when the parents were still together. Here’s how the court does the calculations:
- Add up the two parents’ incomes such that there is a single total amount
- Use a statutory table or schedule to determine the basic child support obligation
- Include extra expenses such as childcare and medical costs in the basic child support obligation to determine the presumptive minimum child support obligation
- Divide the presumptive child support obligation based on the percentage of each party’s income in the total income
For instance, if the custodial and non-custodial parents earn $1,000 and $2,000 a month respectively, the income will be added up to bring a total of $3,000. The custodial parent’s percentage will be 33.33 while that of the non-custodial parent will be 66.67.
If the basic support obligation was set at $500 per month minus medical costs and other extra expenses, the presumptive obligation will be the $500 plus the childcare expenses. So, assuming childcare expenses were set at $50, the presumptive child support obligation will be $550.
The court will then multiply the parents’ percentages by the $550 to determine how much each is supposed to pay each month in child support. In our example, the custodial parent would expect $366.63 every month from the non-custodial parent over the agreed period of time, usually until the child turns 19.