A divorce is never an easy option. In many cases, it might be the only option or a decision that you have to take for the sake of your mental wellbeing and certain other factors, and we completely understand that. However, the moment it may become a long process for you is when you have kids involved.
Now, if you and your partner are getting divorced or being separated, you probably can go on and live your own lives freely, but if you have had a child together, separation, in this case, will not translate to a situation where you never have to see each other again. Several things get involved when there are kids because both the parents share this responsibility. In Colorado, you can certainly not get away with it until all the children (if more than one) turn 19. While there are exceptions to this as well, which we shall discuss moving on, you can keep this age in mind when filing for a divorce.
While the first thing that may come to your mind as a loving parent could be the child’s custody, child support is something that goes hand in hand and is equally crucial for you to understand. Child support is usually referred to as a payment plan which is used for the expenses of the child and is often paid by the non-custodial parent. If the custody is shared, the amount can differ depending on how much time the child will spend with each parent, as well as other factors involved.
If you need assistance with your child support, don’t hesitate to contact our family law attorneys from Colorado Springs.
Why is Child Support Necessary?
Now, it may seem pretty obvious that you need to support a child until they turn 19 because they are dependent on you, but child support is much more than just that. It does not necessarily mean that the non-custodial parent has to cover only those expenses that can be considered necessities. The rationale behind this law is basically about providing the child with a lifestyle that he/she would have been enjoying if the parents were not getting a divorce or being separated.
This is also the reason why the way the amount is calculated is entirely technical. There is a process that is followed to identify a specific percentage of the combined salary of both the parents, which should be used towards the upbringing of their child.
You would have gotten some idea as to how the whole matter can be much more complicated than you would have thought, and this brings us to our fundamental question, which we will be now answering.
Is Getting a Lawyer Required?
To give a simple answer to this question, it would be a no. The court does not require you to hire an attorney for your case, but in most cases, it is worth getting a lawyer for child support cases. However, before jumping into that and why you should get a lawyer, let us tell you when it is okay to go on your own.
When is it Okay to Not Get a Lawyer? While this may not be the case for most of the couples, there is a possibility that both you and your partner have decided to end your marriage on mutual terms and are also clear about the custody and payment matters.
However, if we talk about Colorado specifically, there is a set of rules that the whole process needs to follow. Hence, even if you and your partner have figured it out, you will still need to present it in court, and if the court finds it reasonable, you can move forward with it. In such cases, we think it might be okay to hire a single lawyer who can work the case for both of you but be very sure beforehand that you are on the same page.
When do you Absolutely Need to Hire a Lawyer?
As stated earlier, most of the cases where a divorce or a separation takes place involving kids, there can be a need to get a lawyer for a child support case. Most of the cases are complicated, and being on the same page about the whole situation is not really how things move forward. While the complications are case-specific and every situation requires a different solution, we will be mentioning some reasons which you may be able to relate with and because of which, hiring an experienced attorney for your case would be the right choice.
- Expenses Not Included Earlier: you may need legal help if you want the non-custodial parent to pay for a cost like tuition fee for an elite high school that you want your kid to go in. This may be way in the future, but no matter which side you are on, to prove your point in the court, an attorney will surely be required.
- The Age Limit: while in Colorado, you are supposed to pay for child support until they turn 19, there are some exceptions. If your child has not completed high school until 19, you still are obliged to go on with the payment plan until they turn 21. Apart from that, if your child is mentally or physically disabled, the payment plan will entirely change depending on the situation. You would have to abide by the state laws in which only a lawyer can help you out and let you know about your possible options.
- If You are a Mother: the state of Colorado does not in any way defines the father as the responsible figure when it comes to the payment plan. Hence, if you think that since you are the mother, you do not need a lawyer because the court will consider it, you may not be entirely right on this one. It all depends on the salary of both the parents and so you need to know about this before you enter the court.
Benefits of Hiring a Child Support Attorney
The cases that we briefly discussed would have given you an idea as to how, in most cases, you surely need to get an attorney at your side. Hence, we will now be discussing the benefits that come in handy when you get a lawyer by your side and why it is always advised to have one.
Having a Complicated Case
While most cases are complicated when it comes to divorce, including children, the matters get even more complicated because of child support specifically because money is now involved. If you hire an experienced attorney, they would have had solved cases with similar issues before and so will be well versed no matter how complexed your situation might be.
Knowledge of the Court
Things can get messy in the court, and if you are not a lawyer, you are not accustomed to it. An attorney will not only handle situations correctly in the court for you but will also be able to enlighten you with the proceedings and everything you need to know about child support laws in Colorado in advance. This way, you would know what to expect before presenting yourself in front of the judge. One of the reasons why this becomes even more beneficial for this specific case is that your lawyer can help you in getting an estimate of the payment plan that will be calculated.
Your Partner May Have a Lawyer
If your case is complicated and you think it is impossible for you to rationally communicate with your partner, going in front of them in court when they have a lawyer, but you don’t might be a decision you may regret later. None of us wants that, and so in such cases, having an attorney at your side is not just beneficial but also extremely necessary.
Child Custody and Support
Both of these things go hand in hand, and the decision for one may determine the final call for the other. Hence, if you have a lawyer by your side, they can help you with both the cases so that your case is studied just by them, and they know everything they need to know to win the case for you.
It is always advised to have a lawyer when it comes to child support because even if you may not need them at the time of the initial hearing depending on your understanding with your partner, there might be issues that can pop up in the future. One of the important things about such cases is the time when you may need to have a modification in your payment plan.
This could occur for both custodial and non-custodial parents. For the latter one, it is mostly the case when you might have lost your job permanently or any other legitimate reason due to which you are now unable to pay the exact amount and wants the court to reconsider your plan. Whereas if the child is in your custody and your ex-partner is now earning significantly more than they were at the time of separation, you can demand a modification plan for an increase in the payment plan on legitimate grounds.
While it is not guaranteed that the court will make the changes, having a lawyer that you can consult with and who can present your case in front of the judge in such circumstances is an added benefit.
How to Seek Legal Advice?
If you are stuck in such a situation and are not sure as to how you should go about it, all you have to do is contact us online or give us a call, and we will be happy to help you out. Whether it is about getting consultation from the best attorneys in this specific area or you need to hire someone to deal with your complicated or not so complicated case, we at brighter day law are always up for help. In the end, all we want is to make this already difficult process a bit easier for you and your family.