The agreements and final divorce decree that lay out the respective rights and obligations of spouses are based on the circumstances that exist at that time. This includes the determination of child support. But life moves forward after the ink dries on your divorce papers, and the world as it was at the time of your divorce may change dramatically as years go by.
Those life changes may involve finances, income, employment, health, or other matters that can make a once fair and equitable child support order no longer so. That’s why Colorado law allows a parent to seek a modification of child support after a Colorado divorce.
“Substantial and Continuing Change in Circumstances”
Not every change in circumstances will justify revisiting and revising a child support order in Colorado. Before a judge will change the amount of child support, the parent seeking an adjustment – whether it is the recipient requesting an increase in support or the person paying the support requesting a lower amount – must show that there has been a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” resulting in a 10% or more change in the current child support obligation.
These circumstances most often involve changes in the relative incomes of each spouse. One spouse may find themselves out of a job or with a significantly reduced paycheck. Alternatively, a spouse may be earning a lot more than they did at the time of the divorce. Perhaps the necessary expenses involved in caring for a child have increased due to a medical condition, special educational needs, increased insurance rates, or other needs.
If the payor of child support is seeking a reduction of his or her obligations, the “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” that would justify such an adjustment cannot be one that the payor brought upon themselves. Quitting one’s job, giving away assets, or other acts designed to reduce a parent’s ability to make the required payments will not be looked upon kindly by a judge when considering a modification request.
If you are seeking a modification of child support or believe that a change is justified, you should contact a skilled Colorado child support attorney. You should also contact a lawyer if your former spouse is seeking a change in support amount that would negatively impact your financial situation or the well-being of your child.