Child Support and Alimony

Married, cohabitating parents naturally split household expenses and the costs of childrearing, but when they divorce, they must separate their lives and their expenses.  This can be understandably difficult with two sets of household expenses replacing a single set of costs, but the needs of children must still be met, and this often results in one parent paying child support, and possibly alimony.

What factors are considered when assigning child support and alimony payments in Colorado?  Can parents create payment agreements on their own?  With the help of a qualified attorney like the professionals at Curtis Law Firm, you have the best opportunity to get the support you and your children need following divorce proceedings.  Here are just a few things you should know about child support and alimony in Colorado.

Child Support Calculations

The Colorado Child Support Guidelines are used to determine appropriate calculations of child support payments, and there are several factors that may be considered when making these calculations, including:

  • Monthly gross incomes of both parents (including any spousal alimony awarded to one parent)
  • Parenting time (including overnights) allocated to each parent
  • Standard of living children would have enjoyed if parents had not divorced
  • Child-related expenses like health insurance, medical expenses, educational expenses, childcare, and so on
  • Physical and emotional needs of children

Child support payments will continue until children reach the age of 19, or up to the age of 21 if the child is still attending high school.  In cases where adult children cannot support themselves due to physical or mental disability, child support payments may continue indefinitely.

Alimony Calculations

Alimony calculations in Colorado fall into two categories for spouses whose combined gross income is $75,000 or less annually and those whose combined gross income exceeds $75,000.  The former relies on a formula to calculate payments.  It looks like this:

  • Start with 40% of the combined monthly gross income
  • Subtract 50% of the lower earner’s monthly gross income from that number – this is the gross guideline alimony amount (unless the number is negative, in which case the amount is $0)
  • With new laws, taxes must be accounted for, so if gross monthly income is $10,000 or less, the gross guideline alimony is adjusted down to 80% of the final calculation, and if the gross monthly income is $10,000-20,000, the gross guideline alimony is adjusted down to 75%

In the event that the couple’s combined annual gross income is over $75,000, the lower earning spouse may have to prove lack of sufficient property to provide for reasonable needs and a lack of ability to support oneself through appropriate employment (or prove that a custodial child needs support that makes seeking employment inappropriate) in order to seek alimony.

Parental Agreements

Child support and alimony will be determined by the court based on existing formulas and guidelines, but parents also have the option to make agreements for additional expenses, such as school fees, travel expenses, uncovered medical bills, and extras like auto insurance as kids get older.  Child support payments are designed to cover the basic needs of children, but often, there will be other expenses, and parents may need to divide these separately to ensure shared financial responsibility.

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