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Calculating Income for Colorado Child Support


Summary:  Make sure that an attorney analyzes both parents’ earning ability for child support calculations. In most cases, the unemployed and underemployed must still pay child support. The determination of income can be complicated. Mistakes are very costly.


"Income" for Child Support Calculations

CRS 14-10-115 provides a complicated list of various types of income which are included in the Colorado child support calculations. It also lists other types of income which are not included.

Income can include more than just gross employment pay and self-employment income.

It includes bonuses and some capital gains on sales of property. It may include other income such as employer stock options. It includes investment income. It can include interest earned on IRAs and even one-time sources of income, such as lottery winnings and a personal injury settlement.

It does not include overtime, unless the overtime is required as a condition of employment.

It generally does not include income from a second job or self-employment income, if a regular 40 hour per week job is also being worked.

A Reduction in Employment Income

What happens if the obligor is fired or voluntarily quits? This is a highly contested area.

In some cases, the obligor says "I will quit if I have to pay child support." And then he or she does quit. Or the obligor quits and experiences a reduction in pay in connection with a career change. Or quits to go back to school at a college or university.

Or the obligor is fired because of a drug problem and is having a hard time finding work at the same or greater rate of pay because of the drug problem.

Colorado has many Court of Appeals and Supreme Court decisions which interpret the law as it applies to a reduction in income due to voluntary or involuntary termination or other change in employment income.

The general rule of law is that the obligor must pay Child Support based on his or her income potential. Ability to earn. Past earnings can be used as evidence. There are some exceptions.

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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