When a couple gets divorced, they still owe financial support for their children. This is needed to cover basic needs, such as clothing, housing, food, and an education. Child support amounts are usually based on the income of the parents and time spent with the child.
While child support is meant to cover basic needs, it may also be used for optional expenses. This is in order to give the child a fuller and richer life experience. These costs might include sports camps, after-school activities, and music lessons.
Every state is different. So it’s important that you know specifically how child support in Colorado works if you live in the state. You also need to keep in mind that child support is a payment for the child, it is not for the parents.
Sometimes, parents who make child support payments get upset because they feel like they are giving money to the other parents. However, this is not how child support works.
Keep on reading to learn more about how child support works in Colorado.
What’s the First Step to Getting a Child Support Order?
When it comes to Colorado child support, a parent only needs to support their own kids. This is why there needs to be a legal decision that identifies the parents of the child before child support can be ordered.
It is fairly easy to identify the mother of the child. Identifying the father of the child can be more difficult.
If the child’s mother and father were married when the baby was born and are now divorcing, this part is easy. The court is going to presume that the mother and husband are the natural parents of any child that is born during the marriage.
If the parents were never married but they signed an “Acknowledgement of Paternity”, then this means that paternity is legally acknowledged. Sixty days after the document is signed, the document becomes a legal finding.
If the parents never married and the acknowledgment of paternity was never signed, then things can get a little more complicated. In order to establish paternity, you can also use the courts
First, the father of the child can voluntarily admit to paternity. If they don’t admit, then the mother can ask a court to force the father to take a paternity test. The results will be given to a judge who will decide who the father is.
After paternity is decided, the next step is going to be to figure out the amount of child support.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Colorado?
Child support in Colorado is determined by using an algorithm known as “child support guidelines.” These guidelines make child support predictable and uniform.
Colorado goes by a method known as “income shares.” This method says that children are entitled to a percentage of each parent’s income.
The goal is to have the child be supported as if the parents were still together.
The gross income of the parents and how much time each of them spends with the child is taken into account.
If a court finds that a parent is intentionally unemployed, they can punish the parent. Child support is based on what the parent could be earning, not necessarily what they are earning.
Of course, situations change over time. You should speak to a lawyer if you need to make a modification to your payments.
Usually, the child will live with one parent. The other parent will have the child for some weekends and might get to see the child several evenings each week.
There is also split and shared physical care. Split care is when there is more than one child. Here, each parent has physical care of at least one child.
Shared care means that the parents pay child support and contribute to the expenses of the child.
After custody is determined, a child support order is filed with the court and given to the parents. The order is going to say how much money the parents owe and when the payments are due.
Both parents will have the continuing duty to keep Social Services updated with contact information and current employment. This way the payments can be tracked.
When Do Child Support Payments End?
When a child turns nineteen years old or is emancipated, child support payments will end. Emancipation usually happens when the child gets married or they enter into active military duty.
However, support might continue after that age if the child is mentally or physically disabled. If the child is still in high school when they are nineteen years old, then the support will continue until they graduate.
A child might stop going to high school and then re-enroll at an older age. The child is able to get support upon re-enrollment until they either graduate or turn 21.
The Importance of Knowing About Child Support in Colorado
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of how child support in Colorado works. As we can see, there is a lot involved in the child support process. But by know how it all works, you will be better prepared for what the court decides and know how to deal with decisions that you wouldn’t normally understand.
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