How does the court determine how much child support a parent pays?

In Colorado, the court first determines the the gross income of each parent. Information for these calculations is taken from the financial disclosures each party makes at the initial discovery stage of a divorce or custody case. The court determines the precise number of overnights the child has with each parent. Based on the number of overnights the court uses one of two formulas to calculate the necessary child support based on the parent’s incomes.

Child support can also be adjusted based on educational or healthcare expenses paid by one parent.  The calculations of exact numbers can be complicated. Other factors like the underemployment of a parent or certain deductions form gross income can make estimating a child support obligation on your own difficult. However, you can get a general idea by utilizing the Colorado courts child support calculator, available here:

A party can also receive back child support from before the time the child custody or divorce action was filed if the parents were not living together for a period before the case was filed. This amount is calculated based on the time the parents were living apart prior to the final court order in the case, unless the court has issued temporary orders for the period during litigation.

If the parent obligated to pay child support fails to pay, that parent owes “arrears” to the other parent.  Your local Child Support Enforcement Unit will help you enforce your existing child support order by garnishing wages, government benefits, or even lottery winnings, to satisfy judgments. The CSEU has some enforcement measures not available to private attorneys. However, the attorneys at Smith & Shellenberger, LLC.

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