How To Calculate Income For Child Support And Alimony In Colorado

April 2, 2021

Child Support And Alimony

If you and your spouse are divorcing, child support is naturally a critical concern. These payments are intended to help your children enjoy the same economic status they would have if you and your spouse had remained together (or as close to it as possible). Further, alimony addresses another serious financial need in divorce – balancing one spouse’s divorce-related financial downturn with the other spouse’s financial ability to help offset it. A primary concern you likely have is how to calculate income for child support and alimony in Colorado, and the experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group can help you with that. To ensure your financial and legal rights remain protected do not hesitate to text us at (720) 730-4558 or call us at (720) 463-4333 today.

Child Support in Colorado

The State of Colorado holds both parents financially responsible for supporting their children, and in the event of divorce, child support is the mechanism it uses to ensure that this happens. Child support is calculated according to Colorado state guidelines, and the factors that are most important in the process include:

  • The number of shared children
  • The amount of time the children spend with each parent
  • Each parent’s gross income

Even if you and your ex share time with your children equally, the higher earner is generally responsible for paying child support – based on the state’s income shares approach – which means that both of you are responsible for contributing a specific percentage of your income.

Alimony in Colorado

Alimony – or spousal maintenance – is a payment mechanism in which a former spouse with the financial means to do so helps offset the other spouse’s divorce-related financial deficit. It is important to note that there is no automatic entitlement to alimony with divorce. Further, the most common form of alimony is rehabilitative, which means it is intended only for the amount of time necessary for the recipient to obtain one or more of the following in his or her quest to become financially independent:

  • Additional education
  • Additional experience on the job
  • Additional job skills

Gross Income

One of the primary building blocks in the determination of both child support and alimony in Colorado is both parties’ gross incomes. In order to calculate income in divorce, the gross incomes of both parties are taken into consideration relative to one another. Gross income refers to the total amount you earn – prior to taxes and other deductions. Gross income plays a pivotal role in the calculation of both child support and alimony.

Calculation of Income Basics

When it comes to the matter of how to calculate income for child support and alimony in Colorado, the following factors all play a part:

  • The basis of the calculation process is both parties’ gross incomes.
  • If a parent is in the military, his or her Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) are both included in his or her income.
  • While Veterans Affairs benefits are not taxed, they are included when it comes time to calculate income in divorce.
  • If a parent’s income varies throughout the year, the court is likely to average the earnings – based on the previous year’s taxes or on the year-to-date earnings.
  • Regular bonuses and other in-kind revenue, such as a work vehicle or other employee benefits, may be included in the total income.

Further, if a divorcing spouse is not working, it does not necessarily mean that his or her gross income will automatically be set at zero. The court has the discretion to take the individual’s potential income into consideration (with the lower bar set at a full-time job that pays minimum wage). Finally, a parent’s new spouse’s income does not affect child support payments, but it can affect monthly alimony payments.

Income Is More Than Just a Paycheck

When it comes to income and calculating both child support and alimony, it is often important to look beyond both parties’ paychecks. In addition to salary, wages, and tips, all of the following can come into play:

  • Commissions earned (which can be substantial)
  • Earnings from self-employment
  • Mandatory overtime earned
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Bonuses
  • Dividends
  • Income from trusts
  • Annuity payments
  • Retirement accounts and pension payments
  • Royalties earned
  • Interest payments
  • Capital gains
  • Social security benefits
  • Insurance benefits, such as those afforded by workers’ compensation, unemployment, disability, and wage replacement
  • Gifts or prizes (but not lottery winnings)
  • Alimony received

The court will look at the entirety of each individual’s overall financials. If you are interested in how your child support or alimony calculations will occur in your specific situation, please contact our experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group.

The Colorado Child Support Percentage

Once you and your divorcing spouse’s gross incomes (as adjusted by state exceptions) are combined, the court will proceed to calculate the child support percentage that each of you owes. The total of both percentages must be 100 percent, and all things being equal, both parents will owe 50 percent (but all things are rarely exactly equal). The following factors are determinative in calculating each parent’s child support percentage:

  • Each parent’s income (relative to one another’s)
  • The number of shared children involved
  • The number of children (of other marriages) supported by either parent
  • The number of overnights with the children that each parent has

Each parent’s percentage is applied to the base child support amount (which is predicated on the combined gross incomes of both parents), and the parent responsible for the higher percentage will pay the other parent the amount he or she owes that is in excess of the amount the non-paying parent is responsible for. For example, if the amount Parent A owes is $1,000 and the amount Parent B owes is $300, Parent A will make child support payments to Parent B in the amount of $700 per month ($1,000 minus $300).

Reach out to an Experienced Colorado Family Law Attorney Today

When it comes to divorce, the matter of how to calculate income for child support and alimony in Colorado is critical. If you are facing a concern related to either child support or alimony, our trusted family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group in Colorado have a wealth of experience successfully protecting the financial rights of clients like you, and we are committed to helping you. To learn more, please do not hesitate to text us at (720) 730-4558 or call us at (720) 463-4333 today.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
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