When it comes to child support, it is important that you are knowledgeable about the legal obligations to ensure that you or your ex-spouse are not in violation of any requirements and that your children are getting the financial support that they need.
However, with so many rumors about child support circulating, it can sometimes be difficult to separate myth from fact. To give you a clearer understanding of Colorado child support laws so that you can protect both your rights and the rights of your kids, we have debunked some of the top myths that we often hear from our clients and in the courtroom.
#1 – Parents can just come to a private child support agreement on their own.
Without the proof of any legal written and signed documentation that was filed with the court, it is not possible to enforce private child support agreements. Many separated spouses undergo emotional disputes because one party did not uphold the terms of a private agreement. For this reason, it is especially important that you seek legal guidance when going through a divorce to protect your financial rights and the financial rights of your children.
#2 – Those getting a divorce can determine what amount of child support they think is fair.
The amount of child support due by a parent is mandated by Colorado law and determined by a mathematical formula. This formula takes into calculation various factors including:
- each parent’s income
- the amount of paid medical and dental care they will be covering for the child
- the level of custody and the amount of overnight stays the child will be spending with each parent
- travel expenses to visit their child
- education expenses each parent will pay
- and other important facts.
In very rare cases will a judge deviate from the child support amount that is calculated based on this formula to satisfy what the parents think is a fair summation.
#3 – My ex and I can make changes to our child support agreement afterward without having to file any additional legal paperwork.
This myth often results in serious legal and financial strains for individuals who did not realize they were in default on child support payments. Because child support amounts are determined by the state, any changes to this amount will need to be filed with the proper legal documentation to protect yourself from legal liabilities and additional taxes and fees.
#4 – Once child support is determined, it cannot be changed.
Child support payments can be either decreased or increased based on significant changes to the income of the parent obligated to make payments. For example, if the parent is laid off from their job or becomes seriously ill and is forced to take lower paying employment, they may be able to request a reduction in child support obligations. On the other hand, if the parent experiences a significant increase in income, child support payments may be increased to reflect this life change.
#5 – If parents have joint custody or split custody, then there will be no child support required.
Child support payments are determined based on several factors, including how much income each parent makes, how many funds they are contributing to the child’s care, and where the child will be living. Even in cases when parents have joint or 50/50 custody, there will still likely be child support payments, except for in rare cases where it can be proven that the parents make the same income and contribute equal financial support to the child.
To calculate an estimate of child support payments, you can use the Colorado Judicial Branch worksheet by clicking here. However, keep in mind that this is only an estimate and to get the most accurate prediction of child support payments, it is a good idea to consult with a legal expert who will be able to consider outstanding factors.
With these myths debunked, we hope that we could clear up some of the most common misconceptions about child support. Child support, unfortunately, is one of the legal fields that generates the most myths, which is why it is critical that you consult with a legal expert to receive accurate information and helpful guidance.
For more information about requesting child support, modifying a child support agreement, enforcing payment obligations, or protecting your child’s rights, call our expert team at (303) 331-6432 for legal advice.
The information in this post is not legal advice—it is only legal information. To obtain legal advice by hiring the attorneys of Broxterman Alicks McFarlane PC as your counsel, please contact the firm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-331-6432.