If two parents do not live together, then it is common for one parent to pay child support to the other. Colorado courts typically do not allow the parents to waive child support regardless of whether both parents agree. There are many factors that go in to determining which parents pays for child support and how much he/she pays.
When making child support calculations, the court considers the expenses that arise when raising a child. This includes costs of education and daycare, medical insurance, and transportation. The court does not consider everyday expenses such as clothing, food, housing, utilities, or other expenses.
Both parents are to complete a sworn financial statement that lays out how much money each parent makes per month and what necessary deductions and expenses they have. When completing these statements, each parent must provide the three most recent paycheck stubs and the three most recent tax returns.
If one parent does not have an income, the court may choose to consider what the parent could potentially be making if they had a job. This is to prevent a parent from accepting a lower paying job just to avoid high child support payments. The court will make an exception if the parent is mentally or physically impaired, if the child is under 30 months old and the parent is providing care for the child rather than working, or if the parent is working to get a degree or further training to enhance their career options.
The court will look at the parties’ sworn financial statements and the expenses involved in caring for the child to determine which parent will pay the child support. The amount will be a fixed monthly amount that must be paid at a certain time every month regardless of whether the child is in the parent’s custody at the time of payment or not. There is an exception to this rule. When the child is with both parents for more than 93 overnights per year, then the court will provide a form of “credit” to the paying parent by reducing the child support for those times. Therefore, when the child is with the parent for 92 or less overnights per year, the paying parent will not receive a reduction in amount owed.
It is important to note that while the court can dictate how much money a parent is to pay in child support, the court cannot dictate how the other party spends that money. The law presumes that the money will be spent on the child.
If the paying parent is not making the appropriate payments, the receiving parent has the option to hire an attorney. The receiving parent can collect the missed payments as well as an additional statutory mandated 12% interest on the missed payments.
The child support obligation terminates when the child turns 19, graduates high school, gets married, joins the military, or becomes self-sufficient. If one of these events occurs, then the paying parent no longer legally owes child support. However, if the paying parent still owes late payments, he/she is still expected to make those payments.