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Child Support

Even after many years in my career as a Colorado Springs divorce attorney specializing in child support, I probably should not be, but am still amazed at the lengths that some non-custodial parents will go to avoid paying child support. The major thing I find so disturbing about this ongoing trend is that it reveals the lack of character and responsibility that comes out in some parents when faced with the reality of supporting their kids after a divorce. While not every parent who is not keeping up with their child support payments is intentionally avoiding them, the problem of parents shirking their legal and moral responsibility towards their children needs to be addressed.

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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.

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marrison.child support enforcementAs simple as it sounds, many divorcing parents simply don't understand child support. Some see it as a necessary evil while others see it as a way for spiteful custodial parents to "squeeze" their exes out money. Fortunately neither of these is true. The purpose of child support is to ensure that children of divorced parents are not deprived an acceptable standard of living. When determining which parent will pay support and how much, Colorado state law applies a model known as "income shares." Some of the primary deciding factors are each parent's monthly income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

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deadbeat parentWe've all heard the stories about "deadbeat dads" and other social deviants who do their best to avoid paying child support in Colorado. Of course, there are plenty of deadbeat moms out there too, but whatever the case may be, the problem has gotten much worse since the recent recession. Not every perpetually underemployed parent is trying to avoid their parental obligations; some are honestly trying to find a better paying job. But any family court judge will attest to the fact that "child support avoidance" is a chronic problem in the state.

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child_supportsContemplating divorce can be very difficult, especially when children are present.  Child support is probably the most contentious issue in a divorce, and it often causes a non-custodial parent to seek shared custody.  In the state of Colorado the amount of child support you pay or receive in a divorce situation will depend on your parenting time, or custody arrangement.

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blog-logoSingle parents have enough to deal with just raising kids on their own without a partner; but when the non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support it just makes things worse.  Some of these parents have lost touch with the other parent and have little hope of ever collecting support, but others are dealing with spouses who intentionally set up their lives to avoid paying child support.  In the eyes of Colorado family court judges, this type of parent is easy to spot.

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blog-logoIf you are collecting child support in Colorado, you know how complicated it can be, especially if the non-custodial parent doesn’t want to pay. But even if the payments are regular, collecting Colorado non-resident child support raises questions for many single parents.  In the past, you may have heard horror stories from a friend, whose ex-spouse moved to another state as a way to avoid paying child support.  But thanks to some changes in interstate child support laws, other states now have the proper authority to act on-non-resident child support orders. 

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blog-logoIt’s interesting how quickly an unplanned pregnancy can change the lives of teenagers, as well as the lives of their parents, but if a girl decides to keep the baby there is another aspect to consider in a teenage pregnancy – child support.  Teenagers are some of the least informed citizens when it comes to family law, and rightly so, but it doesn’t take long for legal issues to come up. 

As someone who deals with child support in family law cases frequently, I’ve always wondered why there isn’t a campaign directed at teenage boys that reminds them about these issues.  What a great deterrent that would be for teenage pregnancy – a poster in a boys locker room about child support.  Not just that it exists, but that he will be legally obligated to pay it for at least 18 years  This is one area that most guys don’t consider, but it is not something that should be taken lightly.  Even if parents are never married and live separately, they are still legally responsible to support their child. 

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colorado_child_support_attorneyFor the most part, by the time you receive your Decree of Divorce in the mail, the battle over your property settlement is over.  But when it comes to child support, this is rarely the case.  With many couples, the child support battle rages on - sometimes even beyond their children’s emancipation.  As a Colorado child support attorney, I am always amazed at how nasty these battles can be; especially when child support is designed to benefit minor children. 

One of the more common questions I hear at the Marrison Family Law LLC is, “What is included in child support?”  I don’t always like the answer I have to give to this question, especially when I am speaking with a custodial parent.  Like many other states, Colorado only includes the most essential costs when calculating child support.  The cost of food, shelter, clothing, child care and health insurance are calculated using state averages, based on the number of children in the household and the total income of both parents.  While at first these amounts may seem generous, any parent who has tried to raise children without additional support will tell you that it’s not enough. 

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blog-logoFighting your ex-spouse over child support was probably not the scenario you were dreaming about on the day you walked down the aisle.  The harsh realities of divorce are never more vivid than when your ex-spouse intentionally tries to reduce their child support obligation.  Whether it is their way of acting out you in a divorce, or just being an irresponsible parent, you will need the help of a Colorado child support attorney if you want to prove this to a judge. 

Unlike traditional child support enforcement, a Petition for Contempt of Court in a child support case is something that must be initiated by the plaintiff.  It is usually done when support has not been paid and there is reason to believe that the defendant is purposefully avoiding his or her obligation. 

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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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