Child Support and Enforcement Lawyers in Littleton, CO

Child support is a financial obligation a parent has to provide to his or her child, who is living with their other parent or a guardian the majority of the time. This money goes to the custodial parent or guardian to cover part of the costs the child has, including education and health.

In Colorado, this type of support is set up as part of a parental responsibility (formerly known as a custody) case, a legal separation agreement, an annulment or a divorce. It can also arise from a separate action just for child support. The amount is calculated by a formula created by the state legislature, and this formula generally combines the gross income of each parent and sets out a basic support obligation amount based on those combined incomes. Then, the court divides the support in percentages based on the total income between the two parents.

The support process takes many factors into account, including the amount of time each parent will have with the child and how much each parent will pay for the child’s daycare, educational needs and health insurance. However, it is not set in stone forever once it has been decided, and a parent can take steps to enforce a support order once it has been granted if the noncustodial parent isn’t paying as ordered.

Can I modify child support later?

In general, a child support order is eligible for modification if the incomes of the parents have dropped or increased enough to result in a change of 10 percent or more of the original support amount or if one parent is asking that health insurance costs for the child be added to the support order. The income change must be permanent in the near future, as temporary changes may not warrant a modification. For example, if the noncustodial parent loses his or her job, that is a reason for a modification, but if he or she is just out of work for two weeks, that is unlikely to qualify. Added expenses, such as a new house or car bought by one of the parents, don’t merit a change to the support order.

To modify child support, you must submit paperwork with the court that contains your information and why the support should be changed. You also need to notify the other parent of your request in the manner required by the court. At this point, you may need to take part in mediation to have an independent third party help you and the other parent reach an agreement, or you may need to attend a court hearing.

How is child support enforced if the noncustodial parent isn’t paying?

There are Child Support Enforcement (CSE) units through Colorado via the Department of Social Services, and these units help parents enforce a current support order. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the CSE in order to get the money you need to support your children, and they can also go to court to find the non-paying parent in contempt if your support comes in the form of an order that was part of another case, such as your divorce.

Support enforcement comes in many forms in Colorado, as outlined below.

  • Garnishment of wages or other incomes sources that belong to the non-paying parent
  • Liens on or seizure of the non-paying parent’s property
  • Interception of tax refunds due to the non-paying parent by the Internal Revenue Service and the Colorado Department of Revenue
  • Seizure of lottery winnings of the non-paying parent
  • A proceeding to find the non-paying parent guilty of contempt of court, which is a criminal charge and could result in jail time
  • Suspension of the non-paying parent’s driver’s or professional license
  • A negative entry on the non-paying parent’s credit report, which will impact his or her ability to qualify for loans and credit cards

What happens if the parent who owes lives outside of Colorado?

If the parent who is supposed to pay child support lives in another state, the action to enforce it will take place where that parent lives. Your attorney and the CSE can coordinate with the local support unit in that state to help enforce your order. If the parent who is ordered to pay lives outside the United States, there may be agencies in that country that will work with Colorado to enforce your order. This situation can get complicated, so it’s usually recommend that you obtain legal help.

The noncustodial parent is in the military. What should I do?

There are special rules that apply to military members when it comes to child support enforcement. As with a parent who lives outside of the country, intercepting the noncustodial parent’s pay is more complicated if he or she is a military member, so legal counsel is advisable if you’re in this situation.

Contact Miller & Steiert, P.C. today, our attorneys can help you with child support modification and enforcement issues and other family law needs.

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