Child Support

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How Much Will I Pay/Get in Child Support?

You’re going through a divorce or a custody battle. You’ve heard about child support. You’ve heard about “deadbeat dads.” How much will child support be for you? Like most things in life, it depends on a variety of factors.

What is Child Support For?

First, there is a commission that reviews the guidelines for child support every 4 years. To read more, click here.

The guidelines are based on the cost of raising children. Those costs include parents driving more to/from school or an extracurricular activity, the cost of those activities, larger homes that need more heat, more milk or food in the fridge, school fees, cough syrup when a kid gets sick, co-pays for the doctor, clothes, haircuts, etc. Every parent incurs those additional costs.

The commission determines the average of those baseline costs in Colorado. Those costs are factored into the guidelines. If there are two kids, there are more expenses. However, the guidelines recognize that there are savings by buying in bulk so it isn’t as easy to say that a child costs $_____ per year and then multiply it be 3 if there are 3 kids.

Calculating Child Support

Determining child support is not simply about plugging numbers into a spreadsheet and applying a formula. There are many cases where the income of a party is above the guidelines. There is a significant amount of Colorado case law that opens up strategic arguments for each case involving child support. Our child support lawyers have represented less affluent clients seeking support to help them meet their needs. They have also advised clients who are concerned with limiting their financial exposure on a monthly child support obligation that can add up over time.

Our child support attorneys, Ryan, Amy, Georgina, Michael & Elizabeth, leverage cutting-edge software to calculate the amount of parenting time and analyze the financial issues involved in a case where children are involved.

Factors Determining Child Support

Generally speaking, child support will depend on the following factors:

  • Incomes;
  • Number of children;
  • Number of overnights for allocated parenting time;
  • Cost and which party pays for work-related daycare, if any;
  • Cost and which party pays  the children’s health insurance;
  • Cost and which party pays for “extraordinary expenses.”

Extraordinary Expenses

Child support can drastically change depending on whether the children have historically had major health issues, attend private school, or engage in expensive extracurricular activities. We frequently see parents that spend thousands of dollars per year for their children’s skiing, hockey, ice skating, equestrian, soccer or other activities.


Child Support & Taxes

Colorado child support is generally not taxable. However, there are tax implications for children involved in a divorce. Starting in 2018, there are no more deductions “dependency exemption deductions” for children. Instead, a minor child can be claimed for the Child Tax Credit on a parent’s tax return. The credit has been increased to $2,000 per child up to the age of 16. The maximum amount that can be refundable is $1,400. Who gets the credit? Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-115(12), the Colorado court is required to allocate the right to claim a child in proportion to the parents’ contributions to the costs of raising the child. If a mother has more parenting time than the father and she pays for the child’s sports, tutoring, health insurance, daycare, etc., the court will likely give her the right to claim the child on her tax return.

Although parties going through a Colorado divorce or dispute over parenting rights often times will disagree about the color of the sky on particular day, there are times when it makes sense for them to strategically work together on taxes. For example, if one parent cannot benefit from the tax credit because they make too much money, they can offer to give the other parent the right to claim that child and split the amount of the credit. It results in a “win-win” for both parents. It is rare to characterize anything as a “win-win” in a Colorado divorce or when discussing anything related to taxes, but it is possible if the parties have thoughtful divorce lawyers and CPAs.

Income for Child Support

Child support is inherently dependent on income. To read more about what “income” means in calculating child support, click here.

For more information regarding child support visit the Kalamaya Goscha blog.