Understanding Child Support Obligations in Denver, Colorado

Child support is an essential part of family law in Denver, Colorado. It is a legal requirement that necessitates a non-custodial parent to provide financial assistance for their child's welfare. The amount of child support is determined by the court and is based on various factors such as the income of both parents, the needs of the child, and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the parents were still together.

Legal Requirements for Child Support in Denver, Colorado

In Denver, Colorado, both parents are legally obligated to provide financial support for their child until they reach the age of 19 or graduate from high school, whichever comes first. This obligation applies regardless of whether the parents are married, divorced, or were never married. The amount of child support is determined by the Colorado Child Support Guidelines, which take into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and any special needs of the child.

The guidelines also consider other factors such as health insurance costs and childcare expenses. Once a child support order is in place, it is legally binding and must be followed by both parents. Failure to pay child support can result in serious consequences such as wage garnishment, suspension of driver's license, and even jail time.

Exceptions to Paying Child Support in Denver, Colorado

While child support is a legal obligation for most parents in Denver, there are some exceptions to this rule. These exceptions are rare and must be approved by the court.

1.Shared Physical Custody

In cases where both parents have shared physical custody of their child, meaning they spend equal or nearly equal time with the child, child support may not be required. This is because both parents are already providing for the child's needs during their time with them. However, it is important to note that shared physical custody does not automatically exempt a parent from paying child support.

The court will still consider the income of both parents and may order child support if there is a significant difference in income or if one parent has a higher percentage of parenting time.

2.Imputed Income

In some cases, a parent may refuse to work or may intentionally earn less than their potential income in order to avoid paying child support. In such cases, the court may impute income to that parent, meaning they will be required to pay child support based on their earning potential rather than their actual income. This is often seen in cases where a parent quits their job or takes a lower-paying job in an attempt to reduce their child support obligation. The court will consider the parent's education, work experience, and job opportunities in determining their imputed income.

3.Financial Hardship

In rare cases, a parent may experience financial hardship that makes it difficult for them to pay child support. This could be due to a sudden job loss, medical emergency, or other unforeseen circumstances. In such cases, the parent can request a modification of the child support order from the court.

The court will review the parent's financial situation and may temporarily reduce or suspend child support payments until the parent's financial situation improves.

Enforcing Child Support Orders in Denver, Colorado

When a parent fails to pay child support as ordered by the court, the other parent can take legal action to enforce the order. This can include filing a motion for contempt, which can result in penalties such as wage garnishment, suspension of driver's license, and even jail time. Additionally, the Colorado Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU) can also assist in enforcing child support orders. They have the authority to take various actions such as intercepting tax refunds, placing liens on property, and reporting delinquent parents to credit bureaus.

The Bottom Line

Child support is an obligatory responsibility that all parents must fulfill in Denver, Colorado. Although there are some exceptions to paying child support that can be approved by the court in rare cases, it is important for both parents to understand their legal obligations and comply with any existing orders for their children's benefit.

Theodore Bueschel
Theodore Bueschel

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