A Guide to Child Support Modification in Colorado

A Guide to Child Support Modification in Colorado

Get a Free Consultation

A Guide To Child Support Modification In Colorado

Colorado family courts make all decisions in the best interests of children. The court asserts that it’s in a child’s best interests for both parents to uphold their obligation to support their children financially. When parents divorce, the courts abide by Colorado’s formula for calculating child support. This formula also applies to unmarried parents as long as testing proves the presumed father’s paternity.

Divorcing parents in Colorado may decide on the terms of their divorce, including child custody and child support (abiding by the state’s formula), and form a settlement agreement for a judge to sign, or they can bring disputed matters to court for a judge to decide for them.

A judge’s orders for child support are binding and enforceable; however, Colorado family courts acknowledge that sometimes circumstances for one parent change substantially enough to warrant a change in the child support order.

How Does Colorado Decide on Child Support?

Colorado bases its formula for deciding on child support on the amount each parent would spend toward raising their children had they remained married. The state factors the following information into their equation for calculating child support:

  • The gross income of both parents
  • Expenses for daycare and health insurance
  • The number of overnight stays the children have with each parent per year under their custody agreement
  • Existing court orders for child support or alimony from or to one parent for children from another relationship

The court has the final discretion in child support determination and may adjust the amount for extenuating circumstances.

When Does the Court Approve Modifications of Child Support Orders?

A parent can seek a child support order modification at any time after a judge issues an order. The process takes up to six months for a judge to review the request and issue a new order or deny the requested change.

The court only approves requests if the petitioner has had a substantial, lasting change in circumstances since the initial order was issued. Like most states, Colorado does not typically consider a parent’s request for child support modification unless one or more of the circumstances considered for their child support obligation changes by at least ten percent.

What Is a “Substantial Change in Circumstances” for a Child Support Modification Request in Colorado?

Either parent may request a modification of the existing order. If the receiving parent experiences a change in circumstances they may request additional support from the paying parent.

If the paying parent’s circumstances change they may request a modification. A judge may sign off on a request for a modification under any of the following conditions:

  • A substantial change in income for the paying parent or the receiving parent
  • The number of overnight stays with the children has changed for one parent or the other
  • The child’s expenses have changed—such as an increase in medical expenses due to a diagnosed condition or a change in educational or daycare costs
  • Three or more years have passed since a review of the existing court order for child support

Following a judge’s review the court may approve or deny the request. The most common reasons for child support modification requests in Colorado are changes in income, job loss, or changes in a child’s medical care needs. If you need assistance with figuring out child support modifications, get in touch with a trusted Denver family law attorney from Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. today.