Child Support

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Determining child support is not simply about plugging numbers into a spreadsheet and applying a formula. There is a significant amount of Colorado case law that opens up strategic arguments for each case involving child support. Ryan, Amy and Georgina 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.

As a team, Ryan, Amy and Georgina leverage cutting-edge software to 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 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.