How Do I Prepare For Child Support Court In Colorado?

April 26, 2021

How Do I Prepare For Child Support Court In Colorado

An important matter for family law courts in a divorce or child custody matter is child support, or the cost of raising the kids until they are eighteen, or otherwise emancipated.

In Colorado, child support is a right of every child; therefore, the courts might not recognize a child support agreement between the parents concerning collecting child support, if it’s significantly less than what is suggested by the Colorado Child Support Guidelines. If you and your former spouse can’t agree on child support issues, our experienced Colorado Springs family law attorneys are ready to provide you with the legal assistance you need. To schedule a consultation and prepare for child support court, contact our law offices in Colorado Springs today at 719-733-9129.

How Do Judges Determine Child Support Payments?

Colorado family law courts follow a formula that is based upon the state’s legislature to calculate child support. This formula typically adds the gross incomes of both parents, sets a basic child support obligation based on the combined incomes of both parents, and divides the child support obligation between the two parents based on their shared total parental income.

If a parent is unemployed or is on a part-time job, the judge may “impute” income to that parent, which means the family law court may estimate what that parent might earn if he or she were employed full time. Family law courts can’t, however, establish a potential income for parents who are full-time students working towards a degree or certificate, disabled adults, or parents caring for a young child less than 30 months.

Colorado family court judges consider several factors in determining child support, including:

  • Parenting time the kids have with each parent
  • Whether a party is currently paying child support for another kid, and whether he or she is paying spousal maintenance to the other parent or a previous spouse
  • Whether parents have other kids in their home
  • How much a parent is paying for work-related and/or education-related childcare, and how much a parent is paying for health insurance for the kids.

How Can I Collect Child Support Payments Owed to Me?

To collect child support amounts owed to you, you’ll need to contact your local Child Support Enforcement (CSE) unit and ask for help to collect your child support. It’s essential to note that you have to pay a small fee if you aren’t a temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) recipient.

The CSE can enforce child support owed to you through many ways, including:

  • Garnishing other sources of income or wages.
  • Placing liens on property or seizure of property.
  • Tax intercept. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Colorado Department of Revenue can take past-due child support from the delinquent parent’s tax refund.
  • Imposing taxes on lottery wins.
  • Contempt citation. A contempt proceeding could be started by filing an Affidavit for Citation for Contempt of Court and a Verified Motion which would order the delinquent parent to pay child support or to show up to family law court and explain why he or she has refused to pay child support as ordered. Because there’s a probability of a criminal charge and incarceration, the delinquent parent can hire a child support attorney to represent him or her.
  • Suspension of professional licenses, occupational licenses, or driver’s licenses.
  • Reporting the child support debt to a credit reporting agency.

How Can I File For Child Support in Colorado?

If you’re pursuing child support payments in Colorado Springs, the Colorado Division of Child Support Services can help you:

  • Establish medical/child support orders and paternity;
  • Modify medical/child support orders;
  • Enforce medical/child support orders, including alimony, when combined with child support payments;
  • Collect child support payments through the Family Support Registry (FSR);
  • Collect past-due child support from the noncustodial parent’s state and federal tax refunds and lottery winnings;
  • Collect past-due child support payments from the non-custodial parent through other enforcement measures; and
  • Request another state’s child support agency to establish, enforce, or modify a child support order on your behalf.

Also, you can apply for child support services online and find additional child support application forms on the DHS website.

What Information Should I Provide While Filing a Child Support Petition?

Specific family law courts have different requirements for filing a child support motion, child support petition, or child support complaint. An experienced child support lawyer is conversant with the specifics and can guide you through the child support process properly. However, this is the information you’ll need to fill a child support petition:

  • The name of the family law court
  • Your kid’s name
  • Your child’s date of birth
  • Parent’s residences
  • Parents’ names
  • The legal status of the parents, whether divorcing, divorced, or unmarried 
  • The name of the parent with the primary residential status
  • The name of the parent with the alternative residential status
  • The need for child support
  • An allegation for your former spouse’s ability to pay child support
  • A request for a child support payment

RelatedIs it Worth Getting a Lawyer for Child Support?

How is Income Determined for Self-Employed Parents?

Typically, reviewing tax returns is the first step in the income calculation. However, the amount of income listed in a party’s federal income tax return might not be used in the child support case.

Here are other financial options for self-employed parents:

  • Only ordinary and reasonable expenses should be deducted from the rental property or business operations income.
  • Unreasonable expenses include depreciation on equipment, the excessive cost of home office operations, car expenses, personal expenses, travel expenses, and promotional expenses.
  • Other unreasonable expenses include depreciation approved by the IRS and investment tax credits.
  • If the fringe benefits received in trade, employment, or business operation reduced the parent’s cost of living, they’re considered income. “In-kind” remuneration includes housing, a company boarding room, or a car.
  • The gross income includes variable income received over a period of time, such as overtime pay, dividends, commissions, and bonuses.

Can You Get a Child Support Reduction If You Take a Pay Cut?

If you decide to quit employment or get a pay cut voluntarily, the family court judge will calculate your child support obligation based on your potential earnings–based on your level of education and work experience. This subject is very complicated, and the court’s decision will depend on the specific situation.

An employed parent quitting employment to start their own business isn’t allowed to pay less in child support. But a parent who quits their job for another job that pays less but has a significant income growth potential could be allowed to pay a reduced child support payment. If you have concerns about willful underemployment or unemployment, it’s essential to seek legal assistance from an experienced family law lawyer in Colorado Springs. 

A child support hearing can affect your life severely because you might go to jail if you don’t meet your child support obligations. The worst mistake you can make is agreeing to a child support amount you can’t afford to pay at the end of the month.

A skilled child support lawyer in Colorado Springs, Colorado, can help you gather sufficient evidence needed to determine your actual ability to meet your child support obligation. And if you aren’t receiving the court-ordered child support from the absent parent, our child support lawyers can also make sure that they are held accountable. To schedule a consultation, contact the skilled Colorado Springs child support attorneys at Brighter Day℠ Law today at 719-733-9129.

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