Under state law, both parents of a child have a legal obligation to provide financially for that child. The main reason for child support is to enforce this obligation.
The Colorado Child Support Guidelines, according to the Colorado Judicial Branch, help courts to determine the fair amount of support both parents owe and enable the court to mandate the payment of support.
The guidelines are a result of work by the Colorado Child Support Commission. The idea behind them is to ensure fair orders and consistent treatment of parents across the board. In addition, the guidelines ensure courts consider the ability to pay and the needs of the children. Finally, they make child support cases more efficient since they provide a standard by which the courts can operate in these cases.
The guidelines use an income shares model. What this means is the income and needs of both households factor into the calculations of the amount of support one parent will pay. It works well no matter the income levels of parents. The guidelines provide standard calculations to help ensure an equitable division of support requirements based on the income levels of the parents.
All courts use the guidelines by default as the starting point for determining support. The law does allow for deviation in special cases. The use is in every case, regardless of the marital status of the parents. The court does have the ability to deviate from the guidelines as needed with broad discretion, but it must always provide a written detailing of the decisions made and the basis upon which the court made them.