How to Calculate Child Support in Colorado

How to Calculate Child Support in Colorado

Child support is a financial obligation that parents have towards their children, ensuring their well-being and providing for their needs. In Colorado, child support calculation follows specific guidelines set by the state. Understanding how child support is calculated is crucial for parents going through a divorce or separation. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how child support is calculated in Colorado, along with answers to seven frequently asked questions.

1. What is Child Support?
Child support is a court-ordered payment made by one parent to the other to contribute towards the financial needs of their children. It covers expenses such as housing, food, clothing, education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.

2. How is Child Support Calculated in Colorado?
The Colorado Child Support Guidelines determine child support calculations. The guidelines consider various factors, including each parent’s income, the number of children, the percentage of overnight stays with each parent, and additional expenses like health insurance and childcare costs.

3. What is the Basic Child Support Obligation?
The Basic Child Support Obligation is the base amount of child support determined by the guidelines. It is calculated using a formula that takes into account the combined adjusted gross income of both parents, the number of children, and the number of overnights spent with each parent.

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4. What are Extraordinary Expenses?
Extraordinary expenses are additional costs beyond the Basic Child Support Obligation. These expenses include medical and dental insurance premiums, uninsured medical expenses, child care costs necessary for employment or education, and extraordinary educational expenses.

5. How are Extraordinary Expenses Shared?
Extraordinary expenses are typically divided between parents in proportion to their incomes. The parent receiving child support pays a percentage of these expenses based on their income, while the paying parent covers the remaining percentage.

6. Can Child Support Orders be Modified?
Child support orders can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, employment status, or healthcare costs. To modify child support, a parent must file a motion with the court and demonstrate the substantial change of circumstances.

7. Is Child Support Taxable?
Child support payments are not tax-deductible for the paying parent, and they are also not considered taxable income for the receiving parent. However, it is essential to consult a tax professional for personalized advice regarding your specific situation.


1. How long does child support last in Colorado?
Child support typically lasts until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, child support may continue beyond these milestones if the child has special needs.

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2. Can child support be paid directly to the child?
No, child support payments must be made directly to the receiving parent or through the Child Support Services Division.

3. What happens if child support is not paid?
Failure to pay child support can have serious consequences. The parent not paying may face enforcement actions such as wage garnishment, interception of tax refunds, suspension of driver’s licenses, and even imprisonment.

4. Can child support orders be enforced across state lines?
Yes, child support orders can be enforced across state lines through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which ensures cooperation between states to enforce child support obligations.

5. Can child support be modified if a parent has another child?
Yes, the birth of another child can be considered a substantial change in circumstances, and the paying parent can seek a modification of child support based on this change.

6. Can child support be modified if the receiving parent’s income increases?
Yes, if the receiving parent’s income significantly increases, the paying parent may file for a modification to reflect this change.

7. What if a parent becomes unemployed or experiences a decrease in income?
A parent experiencing a decrease in income should file a motion for modification as soon as possible. The court will consider the change in circumstances and adjust child support accordingly.

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In conclusion, calculating child support in Colorado involves various factors such as income, overnights spent with each parent, and extraordinary expenses. It is crucial for parents to understand the guidelines and seek legal advice if necessary. Child support plays a vital role in ensuring the well-being of children and their financial stability, making it essential for parents to fulfill their obligations in a timely manner.