When a child’s parents split up, each parent is responsible for providing financial support for the child, whether or not they were ever married. Each state is different when it comes to determining child support. In Colorado, child support is based on two main factors — the incomes of both parents and the number of children. More income and more children equal more support to be paid.
In Colorado, parents must support their children until they turn 19 years old, even if they have already graduated from high school. However, if the child is still in high school or an equivalent program beyond age 19, financial support must continue until the end of the month after graduation but not beyond 21 years of age. Parents are not legally obligated to pay for college tuition; the court cannot order that.
Colorado uses an income shares model to determine child support. This model is based on studies that found the proportion of household spending devoted to children is related to the level of household income as well as the number of children. Therefore the Colorado Child Support Guidelines calculate child support based on each parent’s share of the amount of money they would have spent on the child if the child and parents were all living together in the same household.
The state guidelines use a formula and schedule to determine the amount of financial support owed by both parents. Once the amounts have been determined, the formulas also look at medical and daycare expenses. The amount of time spent with the child is also a factor. For cases with extensive sharing of physical care, each parent’s share of child support is adjusted by the time spent with the child.
Colorado’s guidelines serve several main purposes:
- Establish an adequate standard of support for children based on each parent’s ability to pay.
- Make support awards more equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment of parents in similar financial circumstances.
- Improve the efficiency of the court process by providing the courts and the parents with guidance in establishing awards.
Low-Income and High-Income Parents
When the parents’ combined incomes are under $1,100, minimum support obligations apply. The monthly obligation is:
- $50 for 1 child
- $70 for 2 children
- $90 for 3 children
- $110 for 4 children
- $130 for 5 children
- $150 for 6 or more children
This adjustment applies only when the parents are full-time students or medically unable to work.
For high-income parents, the guidelines max out when the combined incomes reach $30,000 per month. The judge has the discretion to apply the support amount as they see fit.
Contact Us Today
The law provides for financial support for children when their parents split up. There are various guidelines in place to determine this support, including obligations for low-income parents.
The team at Tanis McGonegal Family Law, P.C. can help ensure that the income of both parents is properly reported so that your child gets proper financial support. Fill out the online form or call (303) 465-4605 to schedule a consultation with our Colorado child support lawyers.