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What Factors are Considered when Determining Child Support in Colorado?

Child support payments are often a point of contention during a divorce. Despite a parent’s desire to do what is best for his or her child, there might be concern over whether payments are fair or reasonable. If the parents don’t share a 50/50 parenting time schedule, the non-custodial parent might feel the custodial parent is inflating the needs of the child to take advantage of the situation.

Every family is different and ultimately, the court will do what is in the best interests of the child, even if one of the parents views something as unfair. When determining the amount that the non-custodial parent (the parent with less parenting time) is responsible for paying, the court uses C.R.S. § 14-10-115, which addresses guidelines for child support. These guidelines were established to ensure child support is consistent among similar cases, improve the efficiency of the court system, and to ensure parents are financially supporting their children to the best of their ability.

The court takes into account what a parent is reasonably able to afford and understands that each situation is different. The guidelines allow the court to calculate payments based upon the parents’ combined gross incomes. It takes into consideration how much would have been spent on the child had the relationship not ended. It also considers extraordinary medical expenses, the child’s share of health insurance costs, and childcare costs.

According to C.R.S. § 14-10-115, “[I]n a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance, or child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage to pay an amount reasonable or necessary for the child's support and may order an amount determined to be reasonable under the circumstances for a time period that occurred after the date of the parties' physical separation or the filing of the petition or service upon the respondent, whichever date is latest, and prior to the entry of the support order, without regard to marital misconduct.”

The court considers the following relevant factors in determining the amount of child support:

• Financial resources of the parents
• Standard of living the child would have had were it not for the end of the relationship
• Physical and emotional condition of the child
• Educational needs of the child
• Financial resources of the child (if the child receives any income of their own)

Establishing a standardized system for which child support payments are determined has led to a more objective system, but there are still instances in which one parent might feel he or she is being treated unfairly. This is why it is so important for you to work with an experienced family law attorney that will protect your rights, while also ensuring your children are protected.

If you would like to know more about child support or you need someone to represent you in your family law proceedings, contact Montgomery Little & Soran, PC at 303-773-8100.

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