At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., our Denver child support attorneys represent men and women in child support cases. We focus on ensuring that child support arrangements are based on accurate information and are in the best interest of children and parents. Our team of lawyers and paralegals has been handpicked by Cynthia L. Ciancio, one of the most accomplished family law attorneys in Colorado.
It is important to make sure that children have the financial support they need, even when their parents are no longer together. Child support is determined according to a formula that takes the income of both parents and the parenting plan into consideration.
No one should go into legal arguments over child custody and child support without representation. Even in the best of circumstances, with both parents in agreement over the arrangements, there are still several matters to resolve, including the following:
The best-case scenario of both parents in complete agreement over a child support order is rare. In most cases, you’ll need a child support lawyer to ensure the protection of your rights during a contentious time.
Any parent facing divorce should contact a child support attorney for representation as should an unmarried parent seeking child support or named in a child support order. A lawyer protects a child’s interests first but also protects the interests of their client in family court. In many cases, the other parent will have a lawyer defending their interests. A Colorado child support attorney can help with the following:
A Denver child support lawyer advocates for your goals while prioritizing the well-being of the child.
Child support is the right of the child. Each parent has an obligation to financially support the child. When two parents end their relationship – either in a divorce or legal separation – the courts hold that the child(ren) should not suffer any negative financial consequences. The child(ren) should have the same standard of living that they enjoyed prior to the divorce. The solution to this is a child support order. This is a court order requiring one parent to pay the other a specific amount to cover costs related to childcare after a divorce. Typically, the higher-earning parent must pay the lower earner. An order for child support in Colorado typically covers the following:
Determining child support is often the most contentious aspect of a divorce. Disputes over support amounts are common, even when both parents are dedicated to fully supporting their children. Determining the true income of both parents, examining the amount of time each parent spends with the child according to their parenting plan, and agreeing on the costs of raising children may become contentious issues for debate. A skilled family lawyer with experience in this type of economic analysis and deep familiarity with Colorado child support laws can help you and the other parent resolve these issues with the best possible chance of an agreeable outcome.
Each state has its own child support guidelines to determine child support payment. Colorado has child support worksheets to calculate support by taking into account each party’s true full-time earnings/earning potential, overnights with the child and reoccurring expenses for the child. The child support calculator can help give you a general idea of the possible outcome of your child support obligations.
Issues such as fault for the divorce or marital misconduct are not considered. Here’s what a basic child support calculation looks like under the statutory guidelines laid out in Section 14-10-115 of the Colorado Revised Statutes:
Colorado’s child support guidelines are strict and complicated. If you’re wondering how much you or your spouse might have to pay in child support, the best way to use Colorado’s formula is with assistance from a Denver family law attorney. Keep in mind that each divorce case is unique – the standard formula may not apply to your case if your family is an exception, such as with high earners. A child support lawyer can help you accurately calculate child support under Colorado law using the facts of your specific case.
With high-income individuals, the “formula” does not apply. These cases require a special analysis that takes into consideration the needs of the child and the standard of living prior to the parental separation.
With self-employed individuals or business owners, the determination of income can be very complex. Our Denver child support lawyers pride themselves on understanding the income of a business and reading and understanding tax returns. Determination of income is the most important factor in determining child support obligations.
This area of law can be very complex and confusing. If a parent is unemployed or under-employed, there is a possibility that a court will “impute” (assign) an income to that individual even if he or she is not actually earning that amount. The imputation of income in support cases can be precedent setting, so one needs to carefully understand this area of law before going in front of a judge. Whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent, we can help you through the child support process whatever your situation may be.
The issue of child support extends beyond divorce. Unwed parents must also deal with this issue. In order for child support payments to be ordered, paternity must first be established. Our lawyers can assist you with all of your paternity and child support needs.
When two parents are married, Colorado law automatically assumes the husband is the father of any children born into the marriage. However, for purposes of child support, unmarried parents must establish paternity. There are two ways to establish legal paternity in Colorado:
Once a father has established paternity, he has the right to seek visitation or custody and also becomes responsible for contributing to the child’s support.
A Colorado judge in family court holds the authority to issue paternity orders as well as orders for child support, physical and legal custody of the child, visitation, health insurance coverage, and payment for any court costs and legal fees.
Child support is generally modifiable. If you, like many of our clients, have experienced a change in your financial or parenting time circumstances, you may be eligible to have child support modified. The courts in Colorado will only grant a request for child support modification if a parent has had a substantial and continuing change in circumstance since the time that the order was given. This could refer to:
The courts will only grant a modification request if the application of the Child Support Guideline would lead to a new order that has a difference of 10 percent or more compared to the existing order. A Denver child support attorney can assist you with submitting your modification request and proving a substantial change in circumstance.
Child support amounts owed don’t disappear when left unpaid. Instead, the unpaid balance continues to grow and may accumulate interest. Colorado’s Child Support Services (CSS) program exists to enforce child support orders. They can do this through the following ways after the receiving parent files a motion for contempt:
The state may also impose penalties such as suspending a driver’s license or a commercial license, reporting the delinquency to a credit reporting agency, or in cases of the most severe delinquencies, filing criminal charges with jail time as a penalty.
A skilled family law attorney with experience in child support enforcement methods used by the state of Colorado can help you understand your rights and obligations.
When a Colorado court issues an order for child support, in most cases, the order remains in effect until the youngest child named in the order turns 19. Some exceptions may apply, depending on individual circumstances. If a child is still attending high school beyond age 19, support payments must continue until the end of the month of the child’s graduation but not beyond age 21. The same applies to a child in a high school equivalency program.
A support-paying parent should never stop making their payments without clearing it with a judge in case an exception applies. For instance, children with certain disabilities or cognitive impairments may require additional years of support if they require lifelong care. Ceasing payment too soon could result in an unpaid balance, interest, and legal problems.
In some circumstances, child support payments in Colorado could end before a child turns 19 years old. Speak to an attorney about stopping child support payments before age 19 in the following circumstances:
Unless any of the above exceptions apply, child support orders end when the youngest child in a divorced or unwed family turns 19. In the case of multiple children, a child support order does NOT end until the youngest child turns 19. If a paying parent wishes to reduce the amount of money they pay per month when an older child turns 19, they must file for a modification of their child support order.
In child support and child custody cases, our Denver child support attorneys always put the child first. We practice child-focused legal services that protect your child’s best interests. This means reducing the stress and emotional toll of divorce or legal separation on the entire family by creating a personalized legal strategy suited to your needs and working toward a solution that works for everyone.
Our family law firm’s attorneys, handpicked by renowned Colorado family law attorney Cynthia L. Ciancio, understand what it takes to protect the rights of parents in child support cases. Contact us at (303) 451-0300 to schedule a case evaluation with our attorneys about your child support agreement.
Litigation is a journey. This is a journey we have taken with our clients a countless number of times. If you face the uncertainty, risk, fear, anger, or disbelief that comes with the prospect of going through a legal dispute, the law firm of Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. will help you through it.