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Child Support Guidelines in Colorado


Summary:  As a practical matter, you must use a computer program to properly calculate child support in Colorado, based on the child support statutory guidelines


CRS §14-10-115 provides the statutory criteria for ordering child support whenever parents do not live together.

The Award of Child Support

Whenever there are minor children (under age 19), the court will order the payment of child support from one parent to the other parent. The payment can be from either father to mother.

The Court will order support paid beginning with the latest of:

1. Date of physical separation;

2. Date of filing of the petition for divorce; or

3. Date of service on the respondent.

Except that in a paternity case, child support can be ordered back to the date of birth.

Beginning with divorce cases filed after January 1, 2003 or for modifications after January 1, 2003, a change in Colorado law increases the amount of child support for most families.

B. The Duration of Child Support

Child support payments continue until the youngest child is emancipated. Emancipation occurs when a child attains the age 19, marries, dies, or is otherwise living separate from the parents.

Except that support may continue for a longer time period if:

1. The parents agree to continue the payments until a later time;

2. The child is mentally or physically disabled;

3. The child is still in high school or an equivalent program, where support continues until the end of the month following graduation; or

4. The parents agree to share expenses for secondary education.

Unless otherwise agreed, child support will not be ordered for college expenses.

C. The Amount of Child Support

The amount is required to be calculated in accordance with Colorado statute. CRS 14-110-115.

Today the Court has little discretion to change this amount. Although the statute does provide that the Court has some discretion to deviate from the guidelines.

Because of the complexity of the statute, it is almost imperative that a computer software program be used.

The factors used in Colorado to determine the amount include:

1. The income of the father;

2. The income of the mother;

3. The amount of medical insurance for the child paid by each parent;

4. The amount of work-related or education-related day care;

5. Number of other children of the marriage;

6. Amount of any maintenance paid to the recipient;

7. Number of other children of either parent which are not children of the marriage;

8. The parent with whom the child resides most of the time;

9. The number of overnight visits per year with the other parent; and

10. Income tax credits (for day care).

See Chapter 42 for a discussion of how “income” for each parent is calculated. It can be complicated. See Chapter 43 for some child support calculation examples.

There is no allowance for either parent's living expenses or children born later.

Generally the maximum amount does not vary if there are more than 2 children living with the other parent. In other words, the amount is the same for 2 or more children.

GIF The material on this web site is for informational purposes only. This law firm practices only in Colorado. An attorney-client relationship is established only when an agreement as to the scope of representation and fees has been signed and a retainer paid. Colorado law may consider these web site materials to be attorney advertising. GIF
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