How to File for Child Support in Colorado?

If you're a Colorado resident going through a divorce, setting up child support can be one of the most important tasks to consider. Not only is it necessary to ensure that your children have the financial resources they need and deserve, but it's also critical for helping maintain healthy relationships between parents.

Whether you are considering separation or are ready to begin the divorce process, this blog post will provide some helpful guidance on understanding how child support works in Colorado and what you'll need to do to file.

How Child Support Is Determined in Colorado

Calculating child support in Colorado is a relatively straightforward process based on several important factors. The amount of child support owed is determined by using a guideline worksheet, which is a form that calculates the financial obligations of each parent. There are two guideline worksheets used in Colorado, depending on the number of overnights each parent has with the child.

  • Worksheet A, "Sole Physical Care": used when the non-custodial parent has 92 or fewer overnights with the child
  • Worksheet B, "Shared Physical Care": used when both parents have 92 or more overnights each with the child

The Colorado Child Support Services Program plays a vital role in the child support process. Parents can seek assistance from the program to set up child support orders, collect payments, or modify existing orders. The program also works closely with county child support offices, which manage individual child support orders in their counties.

Establishing Child Support as Part of Your Divorce

Most parents establish child support agreements during their divorce proceedings. This can be a difficult, emotional process. However, ensuring your children receive the ongoing financial support they need to thrive is incredibly important. Additionally, it’s important to know that parents have a legal responsibility to provide financially for their children, and you should never feel bad asking your child’s other parent to fulfill this obligation.

In Colorado, child support guidelines are based on a mathematical formula that considers both parents’ incomes, the number of children involved, and other relevant factors. That said, the calculations do not consider all a child's expenses, only those deemed necessary. Though parents cannot waive child support obligations, they can agree to provide additional support beyond state-mandated minimum requirements. Many parents do this to help account for expenses that fall outside of what the court system classifies as necessary.

Examples of child-rearing expenses that parents may wish to make support provisions for during their divorce include:

  • Private school tuition
  • Tutoring and supplemental education costs
  • Summer camps
  • Music lessons
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Study abroad opportunities
  • College expenses

Will I Ever Need to Modify My Child Support Order?

Generally speaking, child support orders are designed to serve a family in the long term. However, as your children get older and their lives change, so will their needs. Additionally, parents' lives rarely stay static, even if they remain in the same career for decades. As such, it should be expected that you will need to modify your original child support order at some point, especially if your children are young when you first separate or divorce.

If you are going through a divorce or are separated from your child’s other parent, reach out to the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. for advice on establishing child support. Our law firm has helped families across Colorado, and we are prepared to help you, too.

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