In the state of Colorado, child support orders are taken very seriously and a substantial amount of time and effort is involved in calculating the right amount of support for minor children. Just ask any Colorado Springs child support lawyer; failure to make timely child support payments can result in incarceration for the non-paying parent. While the state has gone to great lengths to ensure support orders are enforced, many parents don’t know how the enforcement system works.
Contempt of Court for Child Support
If you are dealing with an ex-spouse who is trying to avoid paying child support, you are not alone. Thankfully there are ways you can use the Colorado court system to your advantage to enforce court-ordered child support. The most common way to enforce a child support order in Colorado is by filing a petition for Contempt of Court.
The Contempt of Court petition is designed to get a non-paying parent to start paying according to the order. In many cases, this may involve them making a lump-sum payment against their child support arrears in order to avoid incarceration. Failure to show up at a Contempt of Court hearing will also result in a warrant for their arrest.
The Doctrine of Laches
One word of advice if you are having trouble collecting child support on an existing order: Be sure to let your grievance be known to your local family court. A “doctrine of laches” can be applied to certain cases when/if the recipient of child support has not enforced those rights for a long time, but rather continued to support the child on their own. The doctrine of laches may apply if it is maintained in court that the plaintiff “slept on their rights”, but this defense can only be used to prevent a Contempt of Court conviction. It will not affect the validity of the child support order.
Because so many mitigating factors can have an affect on how well a contempt petition works, it is important to work with a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Colorado child support enforcement. If you plan to file a Contempt of Court petition against a non-paying spouse, it is strongly advised that you seek the advice of a Colorado Springs child support lawyer.