When there is a child support order in Colorado, there are certain aspects that the parties should remember even after the order or the modification has been completed. Obviously, the focus with child support is to serve the child's best interests, but the case is not necessarily concluded with the order or the modification. Various issues should be factored in when the order is made and the parents are navigating the situation. One is the annual exchange of information.
The parties - the custodial and noncustodial parent - are required to share information as to the calculations of child support and changes that might have come about since the previous order. Other information might also be required. This can be annually or less frequently. The idea behind this is to update and modify the order if necessary and not need to go to court to do it. There are forms that are used for this purpose.
When there is an agreement as to a modification or an agreement that there is no need for a modification, these forms will be included. When there is an amount that the parties have agreed to and it is not in line with the state child support guidelines and the schedule of child support payments, statements will be provided to explain this along with the forms. The court will review this and inform the parties if extra information is needed. It will also inform the parties if the modification has been approved or denied. When no agreement is reached, the court can decide to schedule a modification hearing.
The noncustodial parent can request that the custodial parent provide an updated financial situation including costs for the children's upkeep. If the noncustodial parent has not exercised the right to have parenting time, the child support payments are in arrears, or there is abuse of any kind, the court will not order the update. If the noncustodial parent asserts that the custodial parent is not spending the child support on the child, the case can be sent to mediation.
Parents might be under the impression that once there is a child support order, the process is completed and nothing more needs to be done. However, that is not the case. It can be an ongoing process with modifications, disputes and the need to update information regularly. With any issue related to child support, having help from a lawyer experienced in Colorado family law is essential.