Things taken into account when determining child support:
- Monthly gross income of both parents. Only income from one full-time job is counted for each parent, and is based on pay received every two weeks, though support is paid monthly. This means that your monthly payments will be slightly higher than two paychecks, since a month is slightly longer than four weeks.
- Number of children. Only children from the relationship in question are included in the formula.
- Daycare and other costs incurred during work time. Colorado state law recognizes that daycare is a substantial financial burden, and will consider these expenses when determining child support
- Health insurance. Colorado law requires that all children have health insurance.
- Number of overnight stays. If your child stays with you more than 92 days in a calendar year, you may be entitled to a reduction in child support payments.
Things not taken into account when determining child support:
- Changes in your partner’s financial situation not related to income. If your ex-spouse lives rent free in an apartment owned by a relative, the court will not recognize this since it does not increase their income.
- Overtime. As long as the overtime is voluntary, it cannot be factored into their income.
- Second or third jobs. Only a party’s primary 40 hour a week salaried job counts as income.
- How your spouse will spend the money. Like it or not, Colorado does not ask questions about spending priorities. This is a major sticking point for those who have to pay, but that is the way it is.
- Money spent on the children in lieu of child support payments. You may not buy food or clothes–or anything else for that matter–or your children and deduct it from your child support payments. Outstanding medical expenses may be an exception, according to your circumstances.
Child support many be enforced in a number of ways, which may include garnishment of wages, or other employment withholdings like unemployment. Additionally, you may be deprived of a professional license, have a lien put against your home, or even be prohibited from applying for a passport if you are found in arrears. And in case you were contemplating it, you cannot quit your current job to avoid paying child support, though many have tried. The state may still require that you pay according to the job you quit. The same applies to intentionally taking an underpaying job. If you are a dentist making $200,000 a year, and suddenly you take a job as a grocery clerk, the law will not look kindly upon it. In any event, unless you or your ex-spouse are on disability or public assistance, you can be expected to pay according to minimum wage guidelines as a baseline.
The final child support determination will be difficult to predict, not only because there are numerous qualifications to the guidelines, but because there can be multiple and often complicated worksheets to be filled out. For instance, if you and your partner have irregular work situations, like only working part-time, or if either of you are self-employed, the court will have to determine which work related expenses will be counted as reductions and which will not. Additionally, if you have children from another relationship for which you must pay child support, this will probably factor in as a reduction.
Don’t pay more than your fair share of child support. Van Der Jagt Law Firm is a Denver child custody attorney who will make sure you don’t. Make sure you have your rights protected. Call us for a free 30 minute consultation or fill out the form on the right for more information. You can also see our child support calculator for more information.