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Court-Ordered Child Support – Are the Calculations Fair?

Tuesday, 08 April 2014

child support calculator 2If you are getting divorced in Colorado and you have children, you may find that child support is the one part of your settlement that changes as your children grow up. It is also likely to involve several more trips to family court over the next several years.

When a divorce is amicable, it may be tempting to come up with an informal agreement for child support that doesn't involve the courts. If that works for you, child support may be a lot less stressful, but there is no guarantee that you and your ex will continue this amicable relationship into the future. In most cases, it is preferable to go through the courts and have your child support monitored and enforced by the state. This way, if the support-obligated parent falls behind or stops paying, the court will hold them accountable for missed payments.

How is child support calculated?

Variations in state law and the cost of living have caused every state to have its own child support calculator. This means that you might qualify for more child support if you and your spouse were living in New Jersey than you would in Colorado, but it also means you will get more support if you and your ex-spouse have a higher combined gross income.

Depending on the state where you live, the child support calculator is not always a clear indicator of how much it costs to raise kid. Every family has different housing costs, child care expenses, healthcare costs and special needs. The idea of the child support calculator was to determine approximately how much a custodial parent would need in order to maintain the lifestyle in which their children are accustomed. For example, a family with three children and a combined income of $150,000 will require a higher support amount than a family making only $75,000.

There are a few problems with this scenario, particularly in a poor economy. What if one parent loses his or her job and asks for a hardship deduction? If this is granted, the court will use the child support calculator to see what the monthly support amount would be using a lower combined income figure. Once they arrive at the total monthly support amount, they would recalculate the percentage earned by the non-working parent to reflect his or her unemployment compensation. Needless to say, this leaves the working parent bearing a much larger share of the financial responsibility, yet no one ever asks if the working parent can afford to pay it.

When the children were formerly insured by the support-obligated parent, the working parent will also need to add that expense to their growing list of expenses, plus any extracurricular activities. Looking at this situation honestly, it doesn't seem to be all that sustainable. But it's even worse when the support-obligated parent remains unemployed for a long period of time.

If you feel that the child support calculator is placing too much of a burden on you to support your children while making it too easy for the non-custodial parent to remain unemployed, then it may be time to speak with a Colorado Springs child support attorney. In many cases, the court will consider the earning capacity of the non-working parent when calculating child support. A higher support obligation may be what is needed to get them back in the workforce.

Photo Courtesy of stockphotos / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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MPatMarrisonFor over a quarter century, we have helped people during what is often the darkest time in their lives. Divorce is not easy even under the best of circumstances. For most people, family is central. Having something go wrong in the family can have a ripple effect that extends beyond the home and into other areas.

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