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Modifying Child Support

General

In any proceeding involving dissolution of marriage (divorce), legal separation or allocation of parental responsibilities where there are children under the age of eighteen, the parties are required to complete a Child Support Calculation.

Child support is calculated pursuant to the Colorado Child Support Guidelines and is based on an Income Shares Model, which provides an objective basis for determining the average costs of children in households across a wide range of incomes.

The Child Support Guidelines calculate child support based on each parent’s share of the amount estimated to have been spent on the child if the parents and child were living in an intact household.

If one parent has physical care for 273 or more overnights per year, the amount calculated for the parent is presumed to be spent directly on the child. For the other parent, the calculated amount establishes the level of child support.

For cases with split or third party physical care, or extensive sharing of physical care, each parent’s calculated share of child support is adjusted by the time spent with the child(ren).

Specific Situations

When either the obligor’s monthly adjusted gross income, or the parents’ combined monthly adjusted gross income, is less than $1,100.00, the Guidelines provide for a minimum order of $50.00 per month for one child, $70.00 per month for two children, $90.00 per month for three children, $110.00 per month for four children, $130.00 per month for five children, and $150.00 per month for six children or more. The minimum order amount shall not apply when each parent keeps the children more than 92 overnights each year.

When the parents’ combined monthly adjusted gross income is $1,100.00 or more, but the parent with the least number of overnights per year with the child has a monthly adjusted gross income of less than $1,900.00, the parent with the least overnights per year is eligible for a low income adjustment.

The Guideline provides calculated amounts of child support to a combined adjusted gross income level of $30,000.00 per month ($360,000.00 per year). For cases that exceed this level, the court may decide on a case-by-case basis, but may not order less than the amount on the schedule for $30,000.00.

To calculate child support for children who are under 19 or still in high school, or disabled, use Worksheet A (link below) when one parent maintains physical care of the child for 273 or more overnights per year, and use Worksheet B (link below) if each parent shares physical care of the child for more than 92 overnights per year.

Gross Monthly Income

In order to calculate child support, each parent will need to determine their adjusted gross monthly income. Gross income includes income from any source and includes, but is not limited to, wages; salaries; tips; commissions; payments received as an independent contractor for labor or services; bonuses; dividends; severance pay; pensions and retirement benefits; royalties; rents; interest; trust income; annuities; capital gains; moneys drawn by a self-employed individual for personal use that are deducted as a business expense; social security benefits; workers’ compensation benefits; unemployment insurance benefits; disability insurance benefits; funds held in or payment for any health, accident, disability or casualty insurance to the extent such funds replace wages or provides income in lieu of wages; monetary gifts; monetary prizes; income from general partnerships, limited partnerships, closely held corporations, or limited liability companies; alimony or maintenance received; and overtime pay only if the overtime is required by the employer as a condition of the employment.

For income from self-employment, rents, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership of a partners or closely held corporation, gross income is defined as gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce such income.

Expense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business shall be counted as income if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses.

For further information about what is or is not included in gross income, you may review C.R.S. 14-10-115 (see below for link to statute) or speak to a Sherlock (see below for contact options).

The basic child support obligation is determined using the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations, which can be found in C.R.S. 14-10-115 (see below for link to statute).

Child Care Costs

Child care costs incurred due to employment, job search, or education of either parent is entered into the Child Support Worksheet.  Such costs should not exceed the level required to provide quality care from a licensed source for the children.

Health & Medical Costs

Amounts paid by the parties or by a party for health insurance premiums which cover the child(ren) is also entered into the Child Support Worksheet. The amount included in the child support calculation is the amount of the health insurance premium actually attributable to the child(ren). If this amount is not available or cannot be verified, the total cost of the premium is divided by the total number of persons covered by the policy and then multiplied by the number of children covered by the policy who are subject to the order.

Extraordinary medical expenses and other extraordinary expenses, such as the cost of special or private school or expenses for the transportation of a child, may also be entered into the Child Support Worksheet.

Parenting Plan

If the parties reach a full agreement and submit a Parenting Plan to the Court for approval, the parties should also file a Child Support Worksheet that supports the amount of child support agreed upon by the parties in the Parenting Plan. If the parties do not reach a full agreement and submit a Parenting Plan to the Court for approval, each party should separately submit their own child support worksheet. The Court will complete its own Child Support Worksheet at the contested hearing, after receiving testimony and evidence related to the relevant information needed to complete the Child Support Worksheet.

Completing the Worksheet

In order to electronically complete a Child Support Worksheet, you can download the Family Law Software (link below)

The Family Law Software will allow you to electronically input the relevant data into the worksheet. Upon entry of the data, the software will calculate child support pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines and you will be able to print a copy of the Child Support Worksheet.

You can also manually complete a Child Support Worksheet using the following forms: JDF1820M(a), JDF1820M(b), JDF1821(M)(a). Links to the forms are below.

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