Child Support 101
I’m currently watching several of my friends attempting to figure out what to do in regards to child support. How they’re supposed to move forward now that their relationships with their kid’s other parent no longer has the romantic bond connecting them that it once did. This is, of course, one of the many things they’re attempting to figure out as they start the next chapter of their lives.
What is Child Support?
Financial support intended to cover the basic needs your child has. The payment is owed to the child, not the parent. Guidelines are placed by the state of Colorado to make sure that each parent shares the basic support obligations for the child.
How is it calculated?
The state of Colorado has two worksheets available for you that can be used to help calculate what child support will be. Some of the factors that go into the calculation are the custody agreement, medical expenses, child care expenses, and/or if one party is receiving spousal maintenance or alimony.
What if I’m not positive I’m the parent?
There must be a legal decision about who the parents of a child are. Usually the mother is very clear since she gave birth to the child. If you were married during the birth of the child, there is a rebuttable presumption that you as the husband are the natural parent of the child.
What if we weren’t married?
Well, things can be a little bit trickier at this point. When the child was born if you signed a document known as Acknowledgement of Paternity, then you established at that time that you were the natural father of this child. The document becomes a legal finding 60 days after it’s been signed. If you did not sign this document, then you may choose to voluntarily admit paternity of the child or to take a court ordered genetic test to show if you are the natural parent.
How long will I have to pay it?
Child support payments generally last until the child turns 19, or a month after they’ve graduated high school—whichever one comes later. However, in certain circumstances where a child lacks the ability to support him or herself even after graduation high school or reaching the age of 19, the Court can order that child support continue indefinitely. Alternatively, parents may also agree to an extended length of support that ends when the child either graduates college or reaches a later age than 19.
What if I don’t pay it?
Unpaid child support is called arrearages and it has serious consequences. For instance, if you have any lottery winnings or tax returns, those can be intercepted by the state. You can also lose your driver’s license and have liens placed on any bank accounts you have, as well as property that you hold. Child support arrearages can also be reported to the credit bureaus.
Child support can be a very complicated matter, but at the end of the day you want to make sure that your children are provided for.
Have additional questions about child support in Colorado? Contact McKinney & Associates for a free initial consultation.