Family law matters in Colorado that involve children usually require a child support order to ensure the children receive an equitable standard of care, regardless of where the children reside. Whether you were married and are in the process of divorce or only had a child with another individual, calculating child support will be a necessary component for parents and the court to consider. While crafting a custody agreement can be challenging, determining child support can be equally as difficult, and you will likely want to obtain the counsel of an experienced Colorado attorney.
You may be wondering, how is child support calculated in Colorado?
How Child Support is Calculated in Colorado
Many factors in determining child support are outlined in C.R.S. §14-10-115, such as the financial resources of the child and custodial parent, standard of living, educational needs, the number of children, and the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.
When deciding which parent will provide child support, the court will consider the factors above and must also consider any custody agreement or parenting plan to determine the number of overnights each parent will have with the children when calculating child support. The court will calculate the combined income of the parents to determine the basic obligation of each parent, any extraordinary expenses (healthcare, childcare, etc.), and even non-joint children.
What is considered income?
C.R.S. §14-10-115(5)(a)(I) defines gross income as “income from any source, except as otherwise provided in subsection (5)(a)(II)”. Gross income includes:
A. Income from salaries;
B. Wages, including tips declared by the individual for purposes of reporting to the federal internal revenue service or tips imputed to bring the employee’s gross earnings to the minimum wage for the number of hours worked, whichever is greater;
D. Payments received as an independent contractor for labor or services, which payments must be considered income from self-employment;
G. Severance pay;
H. Pensions and retirement benefits, including but not limited to those paid pursuant to articles 51, 54, 54.5, and 54.6 of title 24, C.R.S., and article 30 of title 31, C.R.S.;
L. Trust income;
N. Capital gains;
O. Any moneys drawn by a self-employed individual for personal use that are deducted as a business expense, which moneys must be considered income from self-employment;
P. Social security benefits, including social security benefits actually received by a parent as a result of the disability of that parent or as the result of the death of the minor child’s stepparent but not including social security benefits received by a minor child or on behalf of a minor child as a result of the death or disability of a stepparent of the child;
Q. Workers’ compensation benefits;
R. Unemployment insurance benefits;
S. Disability insurance benefits;
T. Funds held in or payable from any health, accident, disability, or casualty insurance to the extent that such insurance replaces wages or provides income in lieu of wages;
U. Monetary gifts;
V. Monetary prizes, excluding lottery winnings not required by the rules of the Colorado lottery commission to be paid only at the lottery office;
W. Income from general partnerships, limited partnerships, closely held corporations, or limited liability companies. However, if a parent is a passive investor, has a minority interest in the company, and does not have any managerial duties or input, then the income to be recognized may be limited to actual cash distributions received.
X. Expense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses;
Y. Alimony or maintenance received, as adjusted, if applicable, pursuant to subsection (5)(a)(I.5) of this section; and
Z. Overtime pay, only if the overtime is required by the employer as a condition of employment.
Income does not include child support payments received, government assistance, additional jobs, social security benefits received by the children, or earnings/gains from a retirement account unless a distribution has been received.
Calculating child support
If you would like to calculate support, the Colorado courts have published resources for the public to access Family Law Software free of charge. However, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Clifton Black understand all the nuances to consider when calculating child support and will advocate on your behalf to obtain the best outcome available to your case.
Get in touch with the Law Offices of Clifton Black
Do you need help establishing a Colorado child support order? The experienced attorneys and paralegals at the Law Offices of Clifton Black are standing by, ready to help you establish a fair and equitable child support order. Call (719) 328-1616 today to book a consult or book online.