CHILD SUPPORT FOR HIGH INCOME EARNERS
Denver Child Support Attorneys for High Income Earners
Does Child Support Increase if Salary Increases?
This is one of the most common questions we see from clients who are high income earners. They want to know how their child support payments pan out if they get that raise they’re expecting in the next few months. To put it simply, it is possible for child support to increase, but it is certainly not automatic. The parent receiving the child support payments must approach the court and ask for a child support obligation for this increase to take place.
Modifying Child Support in Colorado
Many situations exist in which modifying child support is perfectly reasonable. In fact, a common reason for modification is that the parent paying child support has a pay increase. Regardless of the reasoning, the guidelines state that in order to modify child support, a “substantial and continuing change” must occur. More specifically, the change must warrant a child support adjustment of 10% or more. When the receiving spouse requests a pay increase, the court recalculates the payments. If the new payment amount is at least 10% higher than the original or previous amount, they grant the increase.
How to Request Child Support Modification in Colorado
Through your court’s website, you must submit either a “Stipulation to Modify Child Support” or a “Motion to Modify Child Support” file. Stipulations differ from motions in that both parties agree on the changes in child support payments ahead of time. In other words, you and your ex-spouse discuss the changes and agree on them. Motions, however, only involve one party. After filing the motion or stipulation and providing the appropriate documentation, the court reviews your request. Sometimes, the court schedules a hearing before making a decision.
What About Retroactive Child Support Payments?
Let’s say the spouse receiving child support files for an increase of payments in March. If the court decides to grant the increase in July, they will receive retroactive payments for the increased amount for the months they spent waiting for an answer. Usually, back payments are split up over the next 24 months of child support payments. That way, the paying parent doesn’t end up paying a large lump sum all at once.
Is Child Support Based on Who Makes More Money?
As we stated previously, the most important factor in determining child support is the income of each parent. In Colorado, child support payments are calculated in a proportional percentage. This basically means that, after combining the incomes of the two parents, your child support comes out to be the percentage that your income makes up. Importantly, changes in incomes do alter child support payment amounts. If you or your ex-spouse see a significant change in income, it is possible to request a child support modification from the court. Additionally, it is possible to set child support higher or lower than the guidelines of your state, with the permission of the court.
Child Support Higher or Lower Than the Guidelines
In certain circumstances, judges decide to deviate from the guidelines. However, they require a very good reason to do so. If you believe that you should be paying less, prepare a budget and related documentation to show the judge.
Certain circumstances exist in which judges are more likely to adjust the child support payments:
- The noncustodial parent can afford to pay more.
- The set guideline amount is more than what is necessary to care for the child.
- Whichever parent pays the child support cannot pay due to certain financial reasons.
- Their child has special needs or unique interests such as sports or music which require a higher amount of support.
- Whichever parent pays the support is holding a lower-paying job than they should, just to avoid paying more in child support.
What Happens if Child Support is Too High?
It is entirely possible to pay too much, even when it comes to child support for high income earners. After the judge assigns your payment amount, maybe it puts a noticeable burden on your finances.
When you realize this, you can approach the judge for an adjustment or deviation from the guidelines.
Maybe the initial amount was doable, but then you lost your job or had your income reduced. In this case, the original payment amount is likely too much for your current situation.
Luckily, courts base their decisions on the most accurate information from both parents. As long as the paying parent can provide documentation supporting their arguments, the judge is likely to accept your request. The most important thing you can do is hire an attorney who will fight for what’s right for you.
You shouldn’t have to live in poverty to pay child support, and any good attorney will work hard to ensure that doesn’t happen. At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, we’ll set you up with the right Denver divorce attorney for your case.
High Income Child Support Calculator
Colorado’s child support guidelines max out at $30,000 per month of combined income between the two parents. If the combined incomes go beyond that, the judge has two options. They either treat the incomes as if they were exactly at $30,000 a month or extrapolate beyond it.
If or when the situation arises when the combined incomes surpass $30,000 per month, the judge uses their own discretion to determine child support. The main rule is that the adjusted child support cannot be less than the highest level of adjusted income as outlined in the child support guidelines. It is certainly possible to extrapolate beyond $30,000 per month, but it is uncommon. In most cases, judges simply stick with the upper limit of the guidelines in terms of child support for high income earners.