How Colorado determines child support payments

Colorado has a simple formula for child support. Generally, the court orders the parent who earns more to pay about 20% of the gross income both parents earn each month. However, parenting time and other factors affect this amount.

Read on to learn more about the factors that affect child support in Colorado.

Considerations in Colorado child support

According to state legal guidelines, the number of overnights each parent has with the child and the combined gross income of both parents play a role in the court-ordered child support amount. The judge will also consider the cost of child care, medical care and health insurance. When one parent earns significantly more income than the other parent, the court may adjust the child support amount accordingly with the judge’s discretion.

Colorado has an online worksheet parents can use to calculate support. In addition to the 20% of monthly gross income figure mentioned above, the court adds about 10% for each additional child.

Length of support

In Colorado, child support continues until the child turns 19, although payments must continue until 21 if he or she remains in high school. The court orders indefinite support for children who are unable to work because of a mental or physical disability.

Changed financial circumstances

When one parent does not have a monthly income, he or she may still have a child support obligation. This does not apply to full-time students, individuals who cannot work because of a disability and those with custody of children younger than 2.5 years. Either parent may request a change to the child support order at any time, though it may take up to six months for the court to process a change request.

Common reasons to request a change in support include the following:

  • Several years have passed since the most recent review of your case
  • One parent has more or less time with the child than indicated in the original child support order
  • You have experienced a change in day care or medical expenses
  • Either parent has experienced an increase or decrease in income
  • The child now lives with the parent who pays support

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