(719) 328-1616

Failure to Pay Child Support

Failure to Pay Child Support

In Colorado, one or both parents may be required to pay child support in the event of a divorce. The court relies on specific criteria and guidelines when determining how much one or both parents may be required to pay in child support. Child support amounts are typically based on the following:

  • The child’s access to financial resources
  • Resources of the parent with custody (physical)
  • The child’s standard of living prior to the divorce
  • The needs of the child (physical, emotional, mental, educational)
  • The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent

The requirements for each payment are ordered by the court and outlined in the final divorce decree. The final divorce decree is the final determination of the court regarding several different issues associated with divorce, including child support, spousal support, child custody, and more. Once ordered by the court, Child Support Services (CSS), a Colorado state organization, ensures that child support payments are regulated and performed. Any parent found to violate the court order regarding child support will be identified by CSS and may face future consequences from the non-paying parent and the court.

Colorado Failure to Pay Child Support Attorneys

If you think you may be subject to penalties for failure to pay your child support obligation or if you are a parent looking to enforce payment of child support that is owed to you, contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC today. Our knowledgeable attorneys are familiar with Colorado’s child support guidelines and will aggressively represent your interests.

Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area including Jefferson County, Douglas County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, and Broomfield County. To discuss your case, call Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC at (719) 328-1616 today.

Back to top

Information Center

Back to top

Consequences Of Failing To Pay Child Support

The consequences for failing to pay child support can be both financial and legal. Concerning financial consequences, CSS will begin taking administrative action to ensure that the child support payments are paid correctly and on time. If payment cannot be easily obtained, the CSS will work with the Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU). These actions are taken before formal court proceedings, with court proceedings to follow if necessary. Concerning financial issues, if a parent does not pay their child support payments in full, remedies to collect the unpaid portion include:

  • Tax offsets
  • Garnishment of wages
  • Unemployment compensation deductions
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Suspension of hunting or fishing licenses
  • Deficiency reporting on credit reports
  • Court judgments and liens
  • Unemployment compensation deductions

This is a broad list of remedies the CSS can use to collect unpaid child support. The sections below will discuss commonly used enforcement remedies and how they can affect a parent who fails to pay the total child support order.

Wage Garnishment

Wage garnishment is when an individual’s paycheck is diminished to correct deficiencies from other court orders. Garnishments can occur in many cases, including child support cases. CSS requests a writ of garnishment from the court, allowing CSS to legally deduct up to 65% of the parent’s earnings to obtain the unpaid portions of their support obligations. Garnishment can also be applied to other financial amounts, including bank accounts, tax refunds, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation benefits, and lottery winnings.


For other kinds of assets, CSS may obtain a lien on that property. A lien is a legal right of ownership by another party, usually a creditor—or in this case, CSS—which affects the ownership of property. The CSS’s lien on the property will remain until the support is paid. In some cases, upon the sale or transfer of that property, the lien is paid off using the proceeds of the sale of the property.


On the legal side, if a parent does not pay child support in full, they may face legal consequences. The most common legal consequence is being found in contempt of court. Being in contempt of court means that you are acting in a way that violates or goes against the order given by the court. The court may find you in contempt for failure to pay your child support; if they do, they may face additional fines or time in jail. In Colorado, there are two types of contempt for failure to pay child support, punitive and remedial.

Remedial contempt means that the compliant parent asks the judge to place the non-paying parent in jail until they have paid some or all of the unpaid child support. The parent requesting the motion for remedial contempt does not have to prove that the other parent intentionally did not pay child support, only that child support has not been paid.

Punitive contempt means that a parent requests the court to punish the other for intentionally refusing to pay child support. With a punitive contempt motion, the individual may request the judge sentence the other parent to time in jail or impose fines, regardless of whether the other parent makes payments in full or in part on the outstanding support obligation. Unlike remedial contempt, the parent requesting the motion must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the delinquent parent had the ability to pay child support but intentionally chose to forgo support payments.

If the receiving spouse does not appear in court after being served with the citation and motion for contempt for failure to pay child support, a warrant for their arrest may be issued. This means that if the police stop the individual, they may be placed under arrest and held in jail until support payments are fulfilled. Additionally, they may be required to pay a court fine and other fees as ordered by the court.

Back to top

Difficulty Paying Child Support

If one parent is having difficulty paying court-ordered child support, they may petition the court for relief. Suppose the parent owing child support is unemployed. In that case, the court may order modifications to the support, such as requiring a payment plan or requiring the parent to participate in community service or vocational training.

Back to top

Additional Resources

Colorado Child Support Services – Colorado Child Support Services works with parents to help ensure that children receive the support they need. CSS helps by:

  • Setting up child support and health insurance orders
  • Collecting support payments
  • Assisting with changes to existing child support orders as necessary.

For assistance, visit the CSS contact website and use the “Find a County Child Support Office” search function to find the location and contact information for the child support office nearest you.

Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU) – The CSEU works with Child Support Services to help parents receive unpaid child support. The CSEU acts as an enforcement unit to enforce payments while working with Colorado courts to ensure that child support obligations are fulfilled.

Back to top

Denver Failure to Pay Child Support Lawyers | Denver County, CO

The penalties for failing to pay child support can be severe. If you are facing consequences for failure to pay your child support obligation, reach out to our skilled family law attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. We can strive to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

If you reside in Denver or Colorado Springs, CO, call (719) 328-1616 to arrange a confidential consultation with Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. Our attorneys represent clients for a broad scope of child support matters and can do the same for you.

Back to top


Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC