Even if you have been receiving child support for many years, disputes can still come up between you and your ex-spouse. As a family attorney at a Colorado Springs law firm, I am often asked about child support and college expenses and child support and tax exemptions. Of course, there are many other questions to be answered about child support, but these two are the most common.
Child support laws may vary from state to state, but they have certainly evolved over the years. Not that long ago, only the father was obligated to pay child support in a divorce, but now the obligation is “formally” imposed on either parent, whoever is not living with the children. That is not to say that the custodial parent doesn’t pay child support. Ultimately, custodial parents are responsible for their share of the support, plus anything else their child needs that isn’t covered by child support laws. As a Colorado Springs child support lawyer, I’ve seen many of my clients seek compensation for uncovered expenses, including extra-curricular activities, home computers, orthodontic work and summer camp. Unfortunately, these expenses are not included in a basic support order and must be negotiated separately.
If you are facing a divorce, then you may be dreading a property settlement or possibly a custody battle, but you probably don’t expect the payment of child support to be a big deal. However, if you spend any time in Colorado family court you will soon learn that more time is spent enforcing child support than any other aspect of a divorce. As a Colorado Springs child support lawyer, my clients often continue the battle over child support for many years after the divorce is final.
If you ask a Colorado Springs child support lawyer, there are many aspects of Colorado child support law that could be improved. One of these is the fact that the calculations for support exclude many of the child-related expenses incurred by the custodial parent. Similar to the laws in many other states, Colorado statutes make the wrongheaded assumption that parents will cooperate with one another and share the burden of extracurricular activities. But it is rare to see this happen, which means the custodial parent either tells the children “no” to sports, lessons and birthday parties, or they pay for it themselves.
As a Colorado Springs child support attorney, I am always amazed at how differently the custodial and non-custodial parent looks at child support. As one would assume, the non-custodial parent, who typically spends less time with their children, is often shocked at how much support that he or she is expected to pay. But on the other hand, the custodial parent, who assumes the daily expenses of raising the children, is left wondering why child support isn’t higher.
With high unemployment and a less than stable economy, it is no surprise that many Colorado parents have had to reexamine their child support obligations over the past few years. The recession has taken its toll on nearly every American family, but single parent households have had a much harder time making ends meet. With a budget that is already stretched, if one parent loses a job and requests a reduction in child support, things can quickly go from bad to worse. As a Colorado Springs child support attorney, I’ve seen many parents file for a modification petition to reduce their obligation, only to have the custodial parent counter it with their own request for more support.
Like every other state, Colorado has some stringent laws on the books concerning child support. Most of these laws are contained with the Colorado Revised Statutes, in Articles 13 and 14. These laws state that child support is mandated and should always be paid, or negative consequences could ensue. Child support laws are based on the fact that regular payments are in the best interest of the child and will make a difference in their everyday life. A child support attorney can help enforce an existing order, and make sure that back child support is paid in a lump sum amount if necessary.
Once a couple is divorced and all the court orders are in place, it’s tempting to believe that they will never need to take legal action in family court again, but unfortunately this is not the case. In Colorado, as in other states, there are several different post-decree divorce issues that may arise. As a Pueblo CO divorce lawyer, I advise my clients to make every effort to enforce the terms of their agreements and modify them as needed.
Collecting child support in Colorado can be tricky enough when both parents live in the same state, but when one moves away it can get downright confusing. Worse yet, just trying to get the facts about interstate child support hearings can make anyone frustrated. Each state has its own way of collecting child support; some are run by the state and others by municipalities. If you want to be assured that you’re case is going through the right channels, it is almost imperative to work with a Colorado child support lawyer.
For parents who are dealing with a non-custodial parent who is not paying child support, it is important to know what resources you have at your disposal, and how to use them. Single parents have enough to worry about with the challenges of daily living, and the whole child support system in Colorado can seem complicated and challenging.
Working with a Colorado Springs family law attorney is the best way to ensure that your child support order is up to date and enforced. By law, you are entitled to a review of your current circumstances every three years. This may or may not involve a personal meeting with a Child Support Master, where both parents disclose their current income and expenses. At this hearing, you can request more support to cover medical expenses, child care, insurance and some extracurricular activities. Even if your income and expenses have not changed, chances are the amount of support will be adjusted for the cost of living.