As a Colorado Springs family law attorney, my goal is to help parents reach their own agreements as to custody, visitation, and other matters relating to how they will raise their child after their marriage ends.
When it comes to child support, however, Colorado law sets forth specific requirements as to how the amount is to be calculated. Judges will follow those guidelines or may deviate them as circumstances merit, but in the end, the decision will be made by the judge, not the parents.
Factors Used to Calculate Child Support Amounts
Colorado has established child support guidelines and formulas that judges use to determine how much child support each parent will need to contribute to the child’s upbringing. Broadly, child support awards in Colorado are based on:
• the respective financial resources of each parent
• the financial resources of the child
• the needs of the custodial parent
• the physical and emotional condition of the child, and
• the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or civil union not been dissolved.
How Child Support Calculations Can get Complicated
If all that was involved in determining child support amounts was simple math, then you wouldn’t need much more than a calculator to figure out the size of the monthly check to be written. But things are often much more complicated.
Disputes can arise as to how to determine what the appropriate numbers should be. For example, one parent may dispute what the other parent considers the proper amount of their “financial resources” and gross income to be applied to the calculations. Both parents may have different views as to what the child’s needs are, which in turn impacts what they see as the costs of raising the child.
A judge will need to evaluate these competing arguments to determine what the correct amount is under the guidelines. Additionally, the judge has broad authority to deviate from the guidelines if he or she believes that applying them in a particular case would be inequitable or grossly unfair to one of the parents or the child.
Your Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney May Need to Dig Deeper
Making things more complicated for the judge is the fact that one parent may be actively trying to reduce the amount they need to pay in child support by actively engaging in underhanded divorce tricks such as concealing assets or intentionally reducing their income through “voluntary underemployment.”
Uncovering such fraud and deceit can be a daunting task. An experienced and determined Colorado Springs family law attorney, working with accounting and financial experts, can expose these efforts for what they are and ensure that the judge has a complete and accurate picture of the spouse’s finances when making child support determinations.
When choosing a child support attorney, make sure he or she has a full understanding of the law, a well-developed ability to engage in complicated economic and income analysis, and the advocacy skills and experience to obtain the most favorable outcome possible.