Raising children is a huge financial responsibility. For instance, an average middle-income couple with two children spends around $12,980 per child annually. That’s about $233, 610 to raise a child to adulthood. But if both parents are present in the child’s life, they can depend on each other to provide for their children.
Here at Brighter Day℠ Law, our Colorado Springs child support attorneys are dedicated to helping parents protect their kids. We do this by helping parents get fair child support orders. Learn more about child support laws below and become informed about your child support rights.
How Does Child Support Work?
The child support process starts when you apply for child support services. Also, the process begins when your local child support office gets a referral from another public assistance program. Once the process starts, your local child support office then works to locate the other parent, formalize the child support percentage legally, set the order, and give the collected funds to the custodial parent. Because every state is different it’s crucial to contact your local child support office to know about the child support process as it applies to your case.
Child Support Checklist
The daily stresses of being both a parent and a provider increases as your child grows older. So, it may be time to ask your ex for financial help. If you want to ask for child support, here’s a checklist outlining how to request and receive child support payments:
Locate Your Child’s Other Parent
The first step in requesting child support is knowing the location or whereabouts of your ex, including their address, employer, and other contact information. This step is crucial because Family Law Courts cannot order child support payments without this information.
If you don’t know your ex’s whereabouts, you’re eligible for free help to locate them through your state’s child support services agency. These state agencies have many resources through which they find your ex’s location, including the Federal Parent Locator Service, utility companies, credit reporting agencies, and the United States Postal Service.
Related: How to file for child support?
If you and your child’s other parent weren’t married when your child was born, or if the identity of your child’s father is in question, you must establish legal fatherhood or paternity. Sometimes, DNA testing is used to establish paternity, while other times the father may sign an acknowledgment of paternity. Generally, you must establish paternity before the court can determine the issue of child support or custody.
Agree on Child Support Payment Terms
Next, you will have to go to court to get a child support court order. However, you and your ex can always reach a child support agreement on your own without involving child support services agencies or the courts. This is known as child support by agreement. But this agreement isn’t legally binding, and if your ex refuses to pay, a court cannot enforce your agreement, and getting child support payments might be difficult.
However, if you have a court order and your ex refuses to pay, the court can impose fees and penalties on them. Also, the child support services agency has many ways it can use to enforce the court order, including suspending driver’s and professional licenses, intercepting tax refunds, and reporting the violation to credit reporting agencies.
To request a court order in Colorado, you must file a petition with the court. Then, the court will determine the amount of child support that you should get by referring to the Colorado child support guidelines. While Colorado courts use these guidelines when making child support determinations, they’re also allowed to deviate from the formula if it would result in an unfair outcome to one or both parties.
Alter Terms of Child Support Payments
After getting a court order, you can then ask the court to increase or decrease the amount of child support you receive if conditions in your life or your child’s life have changed. This is known as a request for a child support modification. However, it’s crucial to note that courts usually require that changes in life conditions be significant or major, such as losing a job or a medical disability.
How are Child Support Payments Decided?
The Colorado Child Support guidelines are designed to make sure that a fair share of both parent’s income and resources go to their child. The guidelines use a formula based on what both parents would have spent on the child if they hadn’t broken up.
A Family Law Judge or the Child Support Commissioner sets the amount of a child support order. Child support amounts are based on both parents’ income and can be money, property, or services, including:
- Job wages
- Independent contractor income
- Interest income
- Dividend income
- Rental income
- Unemployment benefits
- Department of Veterans Affairs disability payments
- Disability and worker’s compensation income
- Social security or pensions
- And any other payment that becomes due, such as lottery winnings and insurance payouts.
How Long Does the CSEA Take to Approve or Deny A Request for an Administrative Review?
Once the CSEA receives your request, it determines if it’s approved or denied within fifteen days. If you’re a member of the military and your request for an administrative review is because you’ve been called for active duty that will last for over 30 days, the CSEA will determine if your request is approved or denied within three business days.
How Long Does the CSEA have to Finalize the Administrative Review?
From the day the CSEA receives your request, it has 180 days to finalize the review and mail the results to both you and your ex. If the CSEA doesn’t have a valid mailing address for both parties, the CSEA has 180 days from the day it gets a valid mailing address for both parties to complete the review and mail the results to both parties.
Need Help To Get Child Support in Colorado?
Raising children, especially after a breakup, is one of the most challenging things. It’s challenging to try to pick up the pieces on your own. Our family law attorneys understand these challenges as they guide you through child support, which is one way to make sure that non-custodial parents fulfill their obligation towards the care of their children. If your child isn’t getting child support, or you need to modify a court order, our experienced Colorado family law attorneys can make sure that your rights are protected.
Here at Brighter Day℠ Law, we offer family law services to the people of El Paso County and surrounding areas. We handle marriage issues like divorce and alimony as well as child support and custody matters. Our team of dedicated attorneys will work with you to determine the most direct way to deal with child support in your case. We will help you through the child support process and guide you to the most cost-effective, timely way. Call us today at (719) 225-4443 or chat with us online to discuss your options.