Parents navigating divorce need to know how Colorado calculates child support. The state has laws to ensure children receive financial support from both parents.
Knowing the factors that contribute to this calculation can help you plan your post-divorce budget.
Colorado employs an income-shares model. It considers the gross income of both parents, including wages, bonuses, dividends and other sources of income. As of 2022 US Census data, the average household income in the state is almost $88,000.
The court may also take deductions from gross income. Examples include taxes and mandatory retirement contributions. The income shares model provides a comprehensive view of the resources available to each parent.
Basic child support obligation
The state uses guidelines to establish the basic child support obligation. This number varies by the combined income of both parents and the number of children requiring support. It aims to estimate the amount necessary to maintain the same standard of living as before the divorce.
The court can adjust the basic obligation based on shared custody and the associated expenses. You may have this option if each parent spends at least 92 overnights per year with the child.
Beyond basic child support, parents may share responsibility for other child-related expenses. Examples include health insurance, medical costs, child care and educational expenses.
Allocating these costs between parents supports an equitable distribution of financial responsibilities. The court may allocate extraordinary expenses, such as medical treatments or special education needs, based on each parent’s financial capacity.
Modification and review
Child support orders are not static. Either parent can request modification based on changes in circumstances, such as a job loss or a new living arrangement.
Colorado emphasizes the child’s best interests when calculating child support. Parents can also negotiate their own agreement about support and present it to the judge for review.