Caring for a child inevitably involves a significant financial demand. Each family is different, however, and that demand can vary depending on the income and expenses of each parent.
As Summit County child support attorneys, we understand the difficulties that parents face when either trying to receive adequate financial support or struggling to provide that support. We take a comprehensive look at what each parent and child needs, what can reasonably be provided, and how to make sure that those needs are met and protected through strong legal agreements.
In some cases, we can skillfully negotiate agreements. In others, we must strongly advocate for our clients in the courtroom. We do what is necessary to get the job done without overextending our clients or dragging things out unnecessarily. Each family's well-being is our top priority.
Schedule a initial consultation by reaching us online or by telephone at 970-368-5829.
Breckenridge Lawyers Handling Parental Rights In Colorado
Child support in Colorado is outlined clearly by a formula that takes into account the basics of parental income and the child's primary residence or overnight parenting time arrangement. While the determination of child support is formulaic, there can be numerous issues and disputes regarding what numbers actually go into the formula. Our attorneys include a former family court judge who can fight to ensure an accurate determination of child support.
Not all child support issues are this simple, however, which is why we work to modify the basic calculations to account for other important factors, as well, such as:
- Child care costs such as day care
- Health insurance or medical care expenses
- Extraordinary expenses such as participation in certain activities or unique bill payment arrangements
- Unreported income
- Voluntary unemployment or underemployment
- Parenting time for the parent who does not hold the child's primary residence
These different adjustments can dramatically change the way child support is structured. It is crucial that the attorney you work with understands how and when to be flexible in these cases so that you can find a solution that works for your family's unique needs.
Determining Child Support
Child Support is based upon a mathematical formula set forth in C.R.S. 14-10-115. Colorado has one of the highest child support levels in the USA in terms of percentage of income. The three key factors in calculating child support are: the parents’ respective income, the number of overnights the children spend with each parent, and various expenses related to the children, including cost of health insurance, child care, etc.
The Colorado Legislature has imposed two different algorithms to calculate child support. If a parent spends less than 25% of the year of the year with their child (generally calculated based upon “overnights” a parent has with the child), the Legislature has imposed a flat calculation based on income alone. If a parent spends 25% or more of the year with their child, the Legislature has imposed a calculation which adjusts upwards or downwards based on each individual overnight thereafter. The logic behind this approach is that overnights with one parent are presumed to relieve the other parent from certain expenses they would otherwise incur during that time. Depending on the complexity of your case, there may also a different result for “split custody,” where the siblings go with different parents and “shared custody” or “equal custody” involving nearly equal time.
The child support calculation is further adjusted for who is paying child care costs, health insurance costs, unreimbursed medical expenses and other extraordinary costs.
Some of the most common issues regarding child support are the number of overnights, child care costs and how much income the parent paying actually has. Income issues involve unemployment and “underemployment.” An example of underemployment is where a doctor, who could make a “six figure income” is working as a retail sales clerk at minimum wage. Colorado Law may then require that the child support be based upon “imputed income,” or the number the Court believes the paying parent should be making.
Other income issues include whether overtime should be included, the income figure when a person has two or more part-time jobs, investment income not from wages, trust income, and importantly, income for the self-employed. Generally, overtime is not included unless it is consistent and regular. When a person has two part-time jobs income from more than 40 hours per week is not counted. Generally investment and trust income is counted. The law in this area has evolved and changed over the years and we will advise you as to what the law is regarding your specific facts.
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