When determining child support guidelines in the State of Colorado, there are numerous factors taken into consideration.
As a very simplified Child Support Guideline Summary for Colorado:
- The judge must first determine the child support amount set under the statutory guidelines at C.R.S. 14-10-115.
- This amount is based on the number of overnights each parent has with the child(ren) and the combined income of both parents.
- The judge will then factor other costs into the child support amount such as extraordinary medical costs, childcare costs, and insurance costs.
But now for some details:
- The number of overnights is crucial to determining the child support guideline amount.
- Currently, there are two separate child support calculations, commonly referred to by the Court as Worksheet A and Worksheet B.
- Worksheet A refers to a parenting schedule where one parent has 92 overnights or less. Using this calculation, it does not matter if one parent has 0 overnights or 92 overnights, the amount of child support is the same.
- Worksheet B is used if either parent has 93 overnights or more. Using this worksheet, each additional overnight to a parent will change the child support calculation.
Following are some common child support factors that may also affect the child support guideline amount:
Extraordinary Medical Care:
- This includes uninsured medical costs such as copays and deductibles.
- It also includes medical procedures that may not be covered by some insurance plans, such as orthodontics and possibly counseling.
- Since these costs are usually not planned and cannot always be predicted, rather than including the amount into the child support amount, the Court may order the party not directly incurring the cost to directly reimburse the other for their share.
- By statute, if a parent is paying for childcare to attend work or school, that amount is calculated into the child support amount.
- The parents are to pay in proportion to income, regardless of which parent is incurring the cost.
- Most child support calculators will include the childcare amount minus the predicted tax credit.
- However, there is also a requirement that the childcare amount be reasonable. If the other parent wants to send your child to the most expensive daycare and you did not agree, you may be able to argue this is not a reasonable amount to pay.
- The Court is required to make a finding as to how the child(ren) is/are covered by health and dental insurance (vision may also be included).
- The responsibility to pay for the children’s insurance falls to both parents and, by statute, is allocated in the child support amount.
- Each parent is responsible for paying their share of the cost, in proportion to their respective incomes, to insure the child.
- If one parent is not working, working part-time, or is otherwise voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the Court may impute income to that parent.
- Essentially, this means the Court will assign an income amount the judge believes the parent could, or should, earn.
- However, there are exceptions to when a person will be imputed income, including, but not limited to situations where that person is:
- staying home or working less to care for a child under 30 months
- in the process of completing an educational program that is reasonably expected to better that person’s chances of getting a job at the end of the program, finishing in a reasonable amount of time – for example, the judge is more likely to find this exception is met if someone has one semester left before obtaining a bachelor’s degree, rather than if a person just begins a four-year bachelor’s degree program at the time of the hearing.
While it is strongly recommended you consult with an attorney about the correct child support guideline amount in your case, click here to be taken to the Colorado Supreme Court child support calculator to help estimate how much child support and spousal maintenance should be paid in your case.