Modifying Child Support in Colorado
There may come a time following your divorce or legal separation when you need to modify child support. Perhaps you or your ex-spouse had a change in finances, such as a large promotion at work, or even a reduction in pay as careers change. An older child may have emancipated and child support may be recalculated without that child or either parent may have additional children who may alter the calculation. There are many cases where the financial obligations to the children need to change. It is important to be aware of the information you need to provide to modify child support and how an attorney can help the process along.
At The Gasper Law Group, our family law attorneys understand the confusion that might arise from the need to modify child support. We have helped many clients over the years handle this and other family law matters in Colorado courts.
When is Child Support Reviewed in Colorado?
In Colorado, child support is not automatically reviewed when circumstances change. If you fail to file your motion to modify, your child support order will not be reviewed and child support will only end when the youngest child emancipates. Even if a parent does not file, if the recipient of child support applies for some type of public benefit, the Child Support Enforcement Unit may file a request to review the support for accuracy. They may want to make sure those are not financial needs that could be met by the other parent, and if so, this could prompt a motion to modify.
Other reasons a motion to modify may include one or more of the following:
- One of the children has emancipated;
- Either spouse has had a change in income;
- The cost of raising a child has changed (e.g. healthcare costs or day-care expenses have increased or decreased);
- Parenting time (often referred to as visitation in other states) with the other parent has changed
Although the courts very rarely deviate from the child support formula, it is important to have legal advice concerning the factors that are used in the formula. For example, income for the purposes of calculating child support is different than income for the purposes of calculating taxes.
It is important to review the child support calculation whenever there is a major life change, or at least every three years. This is an important task to do when multiple children are involved because the child support does not automatically adjust when the child ages out.
For example, if your oldest child turns 19 and a review and modification does not take place, the parent paying support will continue to pay the same amount until a hearing and modification occurs, and those funds are not returned to the paying parent. When the youngest child turns 19, child support does terminate, but not before then without some kind of prompting.
How Can an Attorney Can Help the Child Support Modification Process?
An attorney can help you make sure that you get credit for the types of expenses that can be taken into consideration to reduce or increase support. Just like doing your own taxes, filling out your child support modification forms incorrectly could cost you or you could miss out on money that should be provided for the children.
Also, as stated earlier, failing to file for a modification on time could result in paying child support when it is no longer necessary for children that have aged out. It is essential that an attorney is involved if you have multiple children and may miss out on a review if they age out before a change in the child support order is made.
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Contact The Gasper Law Group
For help with child support modifications or other family law matters, contact our Colorado Springs family law attorneys at The Gasper Law Group to schedule an appointment.