Calculating Child Support in Colorado

April 19, 2024

At Johnson Law Group, we understand that navigating the legalities of separation or divorce can be overwhelming. Child support, a crucial aspect of this process, often adds significant stress. However, knowing how it's calculated in Colorado can alleviate some of that burden.

A Formula, Not a Fixed Number Child support hearing document with calculator, glasses, and pen on top of it.

Colorado child support is determined using a formula established by state law. This formula considers various factors and provides a baseline figure. It's important to remember this number is not set in stone. The beauty of the formula lies in its flexibility. Parents can agree to it or use it as a foundation for their agreement tailored to their circumstances. This allows for creative solutions that work best for the family's unique needs.

Key Factors Influencing Child Support

Here's a breakdown of the primary factors used in Colorado's child support calculation by Johnson Law Group's experienced family law team:

  • Combined Gross Income: This refers to the total income of both parents before taxes. It includes salaries, wages, bonuses, and income from almost any source. This serves as the foundation for the calculation. 
    • Standard Percentages: The court considers a percentage of the combined gross income as a starting point. They allocate roughly 20% for one child, with an additional 10% for each additional child. For one child, 20% of the combined income would be considered the basic support obligation.
  • Parenting Time: A child's number of overnights with each parent can significantly impact the calculation. Generally, the parent with more overnights might receive more child support. Johnson Law Group can advocate for a fair agreement reflecting the parenting time arrangement.
  • Child-Related Expenses: These include health insurance premiums, uncovered medical costs, extracurricular activities, and school fees. The formula factors in these expenses to ensure both parents contribute fairly to the child's well-being. Existing child support obligations for other children can also be considered for adjustments.
    • Special Needs of the Child: Additional expenses related to the child's special needs, such as specific medical treatments, therapy, or specialized equipment, may be considered in child support calculations.

Beyond the Basics

While the combined gross income, parenting time, and child-related expenses form the foundation of child support calculations in Colorado, additional complexities can arise. 

  • Self-Employed Income: Determining income for self-employed individuals requires careful analysis of tax returns and financial statements. Unlike traditional employment, self-employed individuals may have fluctuating income streams and business expenses that must be carefully evaluated to represent their financial capacity to contribute to child support accurately.
  • High-Income Earners: The standard formula might not always apply to high earners. For individuals with substantial incomes, the standard formula may not adequately capture their financial responsibilities. In such cases, adjustments may be necessary to ensure that child support obligations remain fair and equitable while accounting for the higher income levels of the parties involved.
  • Deviations from the Guidelines: In some cases, the court may deviate from the standard formula due to extraordinary circumstances. These deviations recognize that not all cases fit neatly into the standard formula. Exceptional circumstances such as significant medical expenses, educational needs, or other unique factors may warrant adjustments to the calculated child support amount to ensure that the child's best interests are a priority.

Getting Started

One option is to utilize online child support calculators specifically designed for Colorado's guidelines. These calculators consider the factors mentioned above to generate an estimated child support amount.

Another approach is to refer to official resources provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services or the state's judicial branch. These resources may include downloadable worksheets or guidelines outlining the factors considered in child support calculations. While they may not provide an exact figure, they offer valuable insights into the process and factors influencing child support determinations in Colorado.

However, it's essential to remember that online estimates are just that—estimates. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney is recommended for precise guidance tailored to your specific situation.  

The Importance of Legal Expertise

As you can see, calculating child support involves multiple variables. This is why having an experienced and passionate attorney on your side, like our team at Johnson Law Group, is critical. Here's how we can help:

  • Accurate Calculations: Our team meticulously analyzes your income, parenting time, and child-related expenses to ensure the most accurate child support calculation possible.
  • Advocacy: We ensure your voice is heard throughout the process, advocating for a fair and sustainable child support agreement that reflects your specific circumstances.
  • Negotiation Expertise: Our skilled attorneys are adept at negotiation, working towards an agreement that benefits you and your child.
  • Court Representation: Should your case go to court, Johnson Law Group will represent you confidently and effectively, protecting your rights and best interests.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who pays for daycare?
    1. Daycare costs are typically split proportionally between parents based on income calculation.
  2. What if one parent has other child support obligations?
    1. The court may consider existing child support obligations when calculating a new support amount.
  3. What if a parent doesn't pay child support?
    1. Colorado has enforcement mechanisms to collect unpaid child support, including wage garnishment and liens.

If you have any other questions about child support, please call us at 720-445-4444 so we can assist.  

Don't Go Through This Alone

Child support is a significant financial commitment, and navigating its calculation can be daunting. With our team by your side, you can ensure a fair and sustainable child support agreement that protects your child's well-being and your financial interests. Take a look at the video below, where Family Law Attorney Timothy Dudley gives insight into the factors considered when calculating child support in Colorado. And remember, we are here for you. Schedule your FREE consultation online 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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