DENVER CHILD SUPPORT LAWYER
Denver Child Support Attorneys
Child Support Office in Denver
Parenting time issues are some of the most challenging and emotional for parents. Our attorneys seek to work collaboratively with the other parent and counsel to find parenting time plans that are both in the children’s best interests and fair to both parents. When this isn’t possible, however, we are zealous advocates for our clients’ rights.
Besides standard child custody, we assist parents with:
No other family law firm in Colorado has as many lawyers recognized for excellence by the independent evaluation companies Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. To schedule a consultation regarding your child custody matter, contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C., at 303-951-4506, or email us.
What Is Child Support?
Child support is financial payment that goes to the custodial parent, paid by the noncustodial parent. This payment intends to aid in the care and upbringing of a mutual child.
The state of Colorado legally requires this, based on the principle that all legal parents are obligated to support his or her children. This holds true, regardless if the parent has physical or legal custody. In other words, parents in Colorado have an obligation to pay child support, regardless of their specific situation.
How Does Child Support Work in Colorado?
Many states have an automatic right to child support, but Colorado takes it one step further and recognizes this as a human right of the child. The courts may not recognize agreements between parents for less than what is suggested by “Child Support Guidelines“. Those guidelines provide formulas for determining what the family would have spent on the child’s care if the parents did not separate.
How is Child Support Calculated?
The guidelines include a wide range of important factors in their calculations. We include many of these below:
- Gross income of both parents
- Child’s income (if applicable)
- Number of overnight stays the child has with each parent
- Expenses for the child
- Health insurance
- Work or school related daycare expenses
- Private school
- Medical expenses
- Travel for parenting time
- Physical and emotional needs of the child
How to Get Child Support Arrears Dismissed in Colorado?
Child support debt is a complicated issue with two parts: unpaid child support and accumulated interest. Colorado law treats forgiveness of arrears differently than it does accumulating interest. That said, Colorado courts have the right to determine whether or not the custodial parent waived their right to collect interest or arrears on child support. They have the power to do this even over the custodial parent’s late objection.
Custodial parents who do not enforce or even pursue their child support obligations in a reasonable amount of time might be presumed to have waived interest. The court will examine the facts of the case carefully in order to make their decision. Colorado law is clear – the waiver by delay applies only to the interest accrued on child support, not the arrears.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support generally covers food, clothes, housing, education, and health insurance for the child. These basic expenses, however, broadly cover a wider range of more specific costs. Housing, for example, covers mortgages and utility bills for their residence.
Below, we list other specific costs that child support covers:
- Weekly groceries
- School lunches
- School supplies
- Daycare costs
- Field trips
- Uniforms for school or sports
- Braces and other dental work
- Physical therapy
- Other medical costs
Some expenses are fixed monthly amounts, while others come up unexpectedly. In the case of something like a medical emergency, the parents divide the cost in proportion to their incomes.
How to File for Child Support in Colorado
Generally, Colorado citizens seeking child support must file through their local government. For example, Denver residents submit a Child Support Application Form through the Denver Human Services website. In order to receive child support, you must be the legal guardian of the child. Additionally, you must be at least 18 years of age.
Below, we include other services and information that this office provides:
- Locating a non-custodial parent
- Establishing both paternity and a legal relationship between parent and child
- Establishing, monitoring, and enforcing child support and medical support orders
- Giving access to other necessary resource and information
When Does Child Support End in Colorado?
In Colorado, child support continues until the child turns 19 in most cases. This is the age of legal emancipation. However, certain exceptions exist to this rule that either lengthen or shorten the time period. Additionally, some cases require court approval before you stop paying child support:
Extending the Payments:
Children who are still in high school at the age of 19 receive support until:
- the end of their graduation month,
- they drop out, or
- they turn 21.
Children with disabilities who require extended care may receive extended support.
Shortening the Payments:
The child moves out of the home and has:
- an independent job
- joined the military, or
- got married.
Do I Have to Pay Child Support If I’m Unemployed?
Parents in Colorado are generally required to continue making child support payments even if they lose their jobs. Failure to do so could result in a variety of penalties such as paying interest on a past due balance or spending time in jail. However, it may be possible to work out alternate child support arrangements while a parent is unemployed. For instance, those who are entitled to unemployment benefits may be able use them to stay current on child support payments.
Those who aren’t entitled to unemployment benefits are encouraged to work with the family court that has jurisdiction in the matter. Parents should keep a record of any steps that they have taken to find work. This is important because it can help to prove that an individual does not want to be unemployed. If a judge believes that a parent is intentionally unemployed, he or she may impute an income to that parent.
In some cases, noncustodial parents are also required to provide health insurance for their children. If a parent loses access to an insurance policy after being laid off or terminated, it may be a good idea to consult with the child’s custodial parent. It may be possible for a custodial parent to add a child to his or her employer plan or buy a policy through the federal government.
Parents who are struggling to make child support payments on time may have options to help them stay current. For instance, it is possible to ask for a child support modification order. This is helpful for those who lost their job or otherwise lack the resources needed to make payments as currently ordered. Individuals may also work privately with a custodial parent to resolve payment issues.
Experienced Denver Child Support Attorneys
Whether you seek child support payments or seek to lower them, you need an attorney on your side. At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, we are well equipped to handle these types of cases. For answers to all family law-related questions, contact our Denver office. Call 303-951-4506 today, or visit us online.