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I got a raise — do I have to tell my ex if I pay child support?

Just because a child support order is in place doesn’t mean it can never change. In fact, child support orders are often modified for a variety of reasons, including instances in which there is a significant change in parental responsibility time or the incomes of either parent noticeably increase or decrease.

This means that a child-support modification may be warranted when one of the parents gets a raise or a new, better-paying job. However, must this parent inform the other parent of his or her higher income? Yes, you do — at least in Colorado.

Annual exchange of information related to child support

When a child support order is in place, Colorado’s child-support statute states that the parties — i.e., the parents — “shall exchange information relevant to child support calculations on changes that have occurred since the previous child support order.” This means that a parent typically has to inform the other parent if he or she has gotten a better-paying job because it is “relevant to child support calculations.”

According to the statute, this exchange of information should occur at least once a year “for the purpose of updating and modifying the [child support] order without a court hearing.”

If, after exchanging information, the parents are able to reach an agreement by themselves regarding child support — regardless of whether they decide to modify it or keep it the same — the court will then have an opportunity to review the agreement and decide if it will approve it or not.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement on child support, then no change to support will be ordered. However, either parent is free to file a motion for a modification hearing with the court.

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