Child Support

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord.

Psalms 127:3


Children are an heritage and they are also a potential obligation that you may need to financially support until they turn 19 years of age.


The purpose for why Colorado has set forth guidelines and a schedule of basic child support obligations are the following as set forth in C.R.S. § 14-10-115:


(1) Purpose and applicability. (a) The child support guidelines and schedule of basic child support obligations have the following purposes:

(I) To establish as state policy an adequate standard of support for children, subject to the ability of parents to pay;

(II) To make awards more equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment of persons in similar circumstances; and

(III) To improve the efficiency of the court process by promoting settlements and giving courts and the parties guidance in establishing levels of awards.



There are multiple factors that a court shall consider in determining the amount of child support to be ordered which include but are not limited to the following:


(1)(b)(I) The financial resources of the child;

(II) The financial resources of the custodial parent;

(III) The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;

(IV) The physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her educational needs; and

(V) The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.


The parties’ gross monthly incomes are considered as well. When the term “gross income” is used, the court’s turn to the statute for an explanation of what is and is not considered:


(5)(a)(I) “Gross income” includes income from any source, except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (a), and includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Income from salaries;

(B) Wages, including tips declared by the individual for purposes of reporting to the federal internal revenue service or tips imputed to bring the employee’s gross earnings to the minimum wage for the number of hours worked, whichever is greater;

(C) Commissions;

(D) Payments received as an independent contractor for labor or services, which payments must be considered income from self-employment;

(E) Bonuses;

(F) Dividends;

(G) Severance pay;

(H) Pensions and retirement benefits, including but not limited to those paid pursuant to articles 51, 54, 54.5, and 54.6 of title 24, C.R.S., and article 30 of title 31, C.R.S.;

(I) Royalties;

(J) Rents;

(K) Interest;

(L) Trust income;

(M) Annuities;

(N) Capital gains;

(O) Any moneys drawn by a self-employed individual for personal use that are deducted as a business expense, which moneys must be considered income from self-employment;

(P) Social security benefits, including social security benefits actually received by a parent as a result of the disability of that parent or as the result of the death of the minor child’s stepparent but not including social security benefits received by a minor child or on behalf of a minor child as a result of the death or disability of a stepparent of the child;

(Q) Workers’ compensation benefits;

(R) Unemployment insurance benefits;

(S) Disability insurance benefits;

(T) Funds held in or payable from any health, accident, disability, or casualty insurance to the extent that such insurance replaces wages or provides income in lieu of wages;

(U) Monetary gifts;

(V) Monetary prizes, excluding lottery winnings not required by the rules of the Colorado lottery commission to be paid only at the lottery office;

(W) Income from general partnerships, limited partnerships, closely held corporations, or limited liability companies. However, if a parent is a passive investor, has a minority interest in the company, and does not have any managerial duties or input, then the income to be recognized may be limited to actual cash distributions received.

(X) Expense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses;

(Y) Alimony or maintenance received; and

(Z) Overtime pay, only if the overtime is required by the employer as a condition of employment.

(II) “Gross income” does not include:

(A) Child support payments received;

(B) Benefits received from means-tested public assistance programs, including but not limited to assistance provided under the Colorado works program, as described in part 7 of article 2 of title 26, C.R.S., supplemental security income, food stamps, and general assistance;

(C) Income from additional jobs that result in the employment of the obligor more than forty hours per week or more than what would otherwise be considered to be full-time employment;

(D) Social security benefits received by the minor children, or on behalf of the minor children, as a result of the death or disability of a stepparent are not to be included as income for the minor children for the determination of child support; and

(E) Earnings or gains on a retirement account, including an IRA, which earnings or gains must not be included as income unless or until a parent takes a distribution from the account. If a distribution from a retirement account may be taken without being subject to an IRS penalty for early distribution and the parent decides not to take the distribution, the court may consider the distribution that could have been taken in determining the parent’s gross income if the parent is not otherwise employed full-time and the retirement account was not received pursuant to the division of marital property.


Even though this is the plain language of the statute, there are still exceptions and aberrations that do not fit perfectly within the definitions. For example, what happens if you have multiple jobs? Which income for which employment applies to the child support calculation? Do they all apply? What if you have overtime? Does all of your overtime apply or only some? What if it is voluntary overtime? What if it is mandatory? How do you determine what is voluntary or mandatory?


Every child support case turns on the facts and the situations of the parties. Call us today for help in preparing for and navigating your potential child support obligation. Give us a call. We can help.

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