Child Support under Colorado law is governed by statute, particularly 14-10-115, C.R.S. Child support is determined by a number of factors, chief among these factors being the gross monthly incomes of the Parents and the number of overnights in a month the Child spends with a particular Parent. Other factors influencing child support are whether there are any child care costs, health insurance premiums for the Child, whether spousal maintenance is being paid and whether there are prior or after-born Children for which support is paid or received.
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A Parent’s gross monthly income is determined from a long list of what compromises “income”, including wages from employment, disability, net income (before taxes) from self-employment. Stock payouts, unemployment and retirement funds can also be “income”. The list is long and complex, and many Court battles are waged over the amount of “income” calculated for a Parent. A Parent who is laid off, loses their job, doesn’t work outside the home or receives significant overtime, can complicate the expectations for support. Courts can even “impute” income to a Parent, meaning if the Parent does not work outside the home—but could—the Court will decide how much a Parent could make based on their prior employment, education level and other factors affecting employability. A Parent who is the primary caregiver for a Child under 30 months old will likely not be imputed with an income. However, once the Child turns 30 months old, that Parent should expect imputation of an income. A Parent who is a full-time student in a program designed to lead to a better paying job, may escape being imputed an income. That Parent should expect to present evidence of their school schedule, why that field of study will increase their employability and wages when the school is completed and draw the inference that they cannot also be employed while attending school. Be prepared and hire a child support lawyer in Colorado Springs today.
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One important thing to know in child support cases is that there is a “magic number” that affects how much is paid. This magic number, 93, pertains to overnights. The magic number is 93 overnights per year–the number of overnights that start to affect the amount of child support paid. Unless a Parent has at least 93 overnights per year, they will pay the same amount of child support as if they had anywhere from zero to 92 overnights per year. This is referred to as a “Worksheet A calculation”–meaning the calculation is for less than 93 overnights per year. Once a Parent reaches a 93-overnight threshold, child support is affected and begins to decrease. 50/50 parenting time (where one Parent has 182 and the other has 183 overnights per year) is the lowest calculated amount of child support to be paid.
Parents almost always want to support their Children; but, that does not make it any easier to give money to someone for whom a Parent harbors animosity (like an ex-spouse or a failed relationship) or mistrust. Lack of excess funds only amplifies the feelings of victimization inherent with paying child support. Making the system even more difficult, failing to pay the amount of support owed every month can carry severe penalties. Interest on amounts owed, garnishments of wages, interception of federal tax refunds, suspension of driver’s licenses and even jail-time can be ordered for unpaid child support. A Parent who has not paid all amounts owed in a given year cannot claim a Child on their tax return even if the decree awards that year to the Parent.