Divorced parents and co-parents have unique challenges. It is difficult to raise a child in two separate homes, and there are many factors to consider. Child support is one of these factors.
The law requires that both of a child’s parents contribute equally to raising their child. This can be done through time spent as the child’s guardian, financial contributions, or, in many cases, both. Ideally, each parent would spend an equal percentage of their time and respective incomes caring for the child. However, in most scenarios, there is an imbalance between the parents’ guardianship time or income. In these situations, the court orders child support.
Child support calculations are important for those who must consider them in their budgets. If you are paying or receiving child support, or will soon be doing either one, you need to understand how the state of Colorado calculates child support payments.
The Basic Equation
To calculate child support, the court begins by calculating the gross income of each parent. Gross income includes:
- Salary or work income
- Public assistance income
- Retirement plan income
Once the court has the gross income of each parent individually, they add them together. Child support should account for about 20% of the combined gross income of both of the child’s parents. For each additional child, an additional 10% of the shared gross income should be calculated.
For example, suppose that Parent A and Parent B each make $100,000. Combined, this is $200,000. The parents have two children together, so 30% of their income should be devoted to child rearing. 30% of $200,000 is $60,000.
Split between the two parents, each parent should be responsible for $30,000 per year of child rearing. If one parent has sole custody, they are inherently spending more money than the other parent. The non-custodial parent will need to pay a higher portion of their income as child support.
The above example is very simple, and real situations often have more mitigating factors. The court will consider many things when determining child support, including:
- The finances of both parents.
- The age and personal finances of the child.
- The child’s extenuating needs.
- The child’s standard of living before the divorce.
- The health of both parents.
These factors can all have a strong impact on child support. It is often difficult to say how much your child support payments will be, though an attorney can give you a better estimate.
Why Child Support Attorneys are Important
Some people attempt to navigate their child support case without legal help. Doing this makes the process much more complicated than it needs to be. With the help of a trained attorney, you can get a good estimate of what child support payments may look like after your court case. Your attorney can also develop a case in your favor to make sure that the child support agreement is fair and takes everything into consideration. An attorney gives you a voice in these proceedings, which is essential if you wish to make sure that the court understands your circumstances.
Q: Is Child Support Based on Income in Colorado?
A: The court assesses each parent’s gross income to calculate child support. Your portion of child support will be a percentage of your income. This will ensure that the amount is proportionate for each parent and scalable as incomes change. However, income is not the only factor in child support calculations. Other factors can alter the percentage for which you are responsible. An attorney can help you estimate how much you will have to pay.
Q: What Is the Standard Child Support Percentage in Colorado?
A: The standard child support percentage is 20% of the parents’ combined gross income. An additional 10% is added for each additional child. If there are extenuating circumstances, the court may call for a higher or lower percentage to reflect your situation. Most child support negotiations involve each parent showing the court the reality of their situation. Although the court does begin the process by looking at the data, the end decision will depend upon the given scenario.
Q: How Much Can Child Support Take From Your Check in Colorado?
A: Your employer can take up to 60% of your paycheck to pay your child support payments. Since these payments go through the state, they can often be deducted straight from a paycheck rather than being paid through an online portal. This is especially true if you have been late on child support checks or have given the court any reason to believe that you will not make proper payments. You cannot get out of paying child support payments without modification approval from the court.
Q: What Is the Maximum Amount of Child Support in Colorado?
A: The maximum monthly child support is $30,000 worth of combined income. While some states do not have limits on child support amounts, Colorado does enforce this cap to protect parents and children from exploitative behavior in the child support system. However, as with all other aspects of child support, a judge can make a discretionary decision after reviewing the unique details of a case.
Contact Woody Law Firm, LLC
Our team at Woody Law Firm, LLC, has over 20 years of combined experience in Colorado family law. During our years in business, we have become experts in many areas of the legal system and can help you navigate divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, asset division, and more. Because we have experience in all these areas, you can rely on comprehensive legal advice that considers all angles of the situation. If you are going through a divorce, we are here to support you from the beginning to the end of the process, which can be lengthy depending upon your circumstances.
We understand all aspects of Colorado child support law, and we can help you fight for what is fair and equitable for your family. Our personalized advice gives you the best chance of winning your Colorado child support case.
For more information, please reach out to Woody Law Firm, LLC today.