What Happens if You Don’t Pay Child Support in Colorado

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Child Support in Colorado

Child support is a critical aspect of ensuring the well-being and financial stability of a child. It is the legal obligation of a non-custodial parent to provide financial support for their child, regardless of their relationship status. Failure to pay child support can have serious consequences in Colorado, both legally and financially. In this article, we will explore what happens if you don’t pay child support in Colorado and answer some frequently asked questions on this topic.

Legal Consequences:
1. Wage Garnishment: If you consistently fail to make child support payments, the court may order wage garnishment. This means that a portion of your wages will be automatically deducted by your employer and sent directly to the custodial parent or the state child support agency.
2. Driver’s License Suspension: In Colorado, your driver’s license can be suspended if you continuously fail to pay child support. This can significantly impact your ability to travel, commute to work, and perform day-to-day activities.
3. Property Liens: If you own property, the custodial parent or the state child support agency can place a lien on it. This allows them to collect the owed child support from the sale proceeds when you decide to sell the property.
4. Contempt of Court: If you willfully disobey a court order to pay child support, you could be held in contempt of court. This can result in fines, imprisonment, or both, depending on the severity of the violation.

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Financial Consequences:
1. Interest and Penalties: When child support payments are not made on time, interest and penalties may be added to the amount owed. This increases the overall debt and makes it even more challenging to catch up on payments.
2. Tax Refund Intercept: The state can intercept your federal and state tax refunds to cover any outstanding child support debt. This can further reduce your financial resources and make it difficult to meet your other financial obligations.
3. Credit Score Impact: Unpaid child support can be reported to credit bureaus, leading to a negative impact on your credit score. This can make it challenging to obtain credit, loans, or even secure housing in the future.
4. Professional License Suspension: If you hold a professional license, such as a medical or legal license, the state can suspend it until you become current on your child support payments. This can jeopardize your career and livelihood.


1. Can child support be modified if I can’t afford the payments?
Yes, if there is a significant change in your financial circumstances, you can request a modification of child support from the court. It is crucial to provide evidence of the change in income or financial situation.

2. Is there a statute of limitations for child support in Colorado?
No, there is no statute of limitations for child support in Colorado. The obligation to pay child support continues until the child reaches the age of emancipation, which is typically 19 years old.

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3. Can I go to jail for not paying child support?
While jail time is possible for contempt of court, it is typically reserved for extreme cases of non-payment or willful evasion. The primary goal is to collect the owed child support rather than incarcerating the non-paying parent.

4. Can child support be enforced across state lines?
Yes, child support orders can be enforced across state lines through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This allows cooperation between states to ensure child support obligations are met.

5. Will child support affect my visitation rights?
No, child support and visitation rights are separate legal matters. Non-payment of child support cannot be used as a reason to deny visitation rights. It is essential to address any issues regarding visitation separately through the appropriate legal channels.

6. Can child support be discharged in bankruptcy?
No, child support obligations cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. They are considered priority debts and must be paid even if other debts are discharged.

7. Can child support be enforced if the non-custodial parent lives in another country?
Yes, the United States has agreements with many countries to enforce child support orders internationally. The process may be more complex, but it is possible to collect child support from a non-custodial parent residing in another country.

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Child support is a legal and moral obligation that must be fulfilled by non-custodial parents in Colorado. Failure to pay child support can result in severe legal and financial consequences. It is important to address any financial difficulties promptly and seek legal assistance, if necessary, to modify child support arrangements. Remember, the well-being of your child depends on your financial support, and fulfilling your obligation is essential for their growth and stability.