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How are child support amounts calculated?

Child support is a subject that gets a lot of parents upset. Parents who have primary custody of their children get worried when they aren't getting enough to pay for the child's needs. Parents who are under court orders to pay child support often worry that they can't keep up with their obligations. Often, neither parent is happy with the arrangement.

How does Colorado calculate child support payment amounts?

The state has a formula for calculating child support amounts. First, it adds up the combined gross income of the two parents. The total amount of child support for a single child is 20% of this total. Gross income in this case means all income from any source other than public assistance, a second job, a retirement plan or the child support itself. For any additional child, the parents must pay another 10% of their combined gross income.

However, the court does not always have to follow this formula exactly. It may choose a different amount based on several factors, including: the child's own financial resources; the resources of the custodial parent; the resources of the noncustodial parent; the standard of living the child might have enjoyed had the parents remained married; and the child's condition and educational needs.

Colorado considers both parents responsible for the support of their child until the child turns 19. This obligation may continue longer if they child is in high school past age 19, or for children who cannot support themselves due to a disability.

Of course, the needs and resources of children and parents can change, and child support order may need to be modified from time to time. Parents who are not receiving all the support the child needs may need to talk to a lawyer about enforcing a child support order. Parents who can no longer afford to keep up with their payments can talk to a lawyer about requesting a modification.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
1820 West Colorado Avenue
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